Fear Eats The Soul

DVD Rating: ***1/2

Reviewed by: Leanne McGrath

Read Leanne McGrath's film review of Fear Eats The Soul
Fear Eats The Soul

The DVD comes with a small selection of extras - but who said size matters, eh ladies. Quality definitely reigns over quantity here and we are treated to an in-depth interview with Fassbinder, a documentary on the move to Hollywood he was expected to make before his early death and an interview with Hollywood director Todd Haynes, who, like Fassbinder, remade Sirk's All That Heaven Allows. We also get Fassbinder's short film The City Tramp - a gritty, 12-minute tale of one desperate man debating whether to take his own life.

Robert Fischer's documentary Fassbinder In Hollywood explores the director's expected move to Hollywood following success in his homeland. Contemporaries such as Wim Wenders, who is interviewed here, made the move and found an international audience but Fassbinder never made it despite his plans to - he died in 1982 of a drug overdose, aged just 37.

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The 60-minute documentary explores whether the fiercely independent director and his controversial output could have worked within the confines of the studio system.

Interviews include revealing chats with actor turned director Ulli Lommel, who starred in some of Fassbinder's films, most notably gangster movie Love Is Colder Than Death (1969), and one of his often used actresses, Hanna Schygulla.

There is also input from Frederique Michel, the artistic director of the City Garage theatre in Santa Monica, who brings his radical plays to the stage, and Ian Birnie of the LA County Museum of Art, who discusses his relationship with Douglas Sirk.

Life Stories: A Conversation with RW Fassbinder documents an interview Fassbinder gave to Peter Jansen in March 1978. The 45-minute chat sees Fassbinder chain-smoke his way through a series of questions that often seem to annoy him and, sadly, never get him to reveal too much. His turbulent childhood and highly colourful private life - including his two marriages and homosexual affairs - are barely touched on. A wife is brought up, his male lovers never are.

But he does open up at times - fiercely denying accusations he is a mysogynist and anti-Semitic and discussing how he hates being regarded as the leader of his gang of actors and film crew. He hates the concept of individuals needing a leader - "a fuhrer" as he tentatively puts it.

Todd Haynes' 15-minute interview is a tribute to both Sirk and Fassbinder, looking at how they influenced him while making 2002's Far From Heaven. But the real gem when it comes to extras is The City Tramp. This moving black and white short film sees a depressed drunk find a gun, debate whether to use it then hunt for the perfect place to shoot himself.

Reviewed on: 14 Sep 2006
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Touching romance between a lonely widow and an immigrant worker.
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Product Code: FCD267

Region: 2

Ratio: Fullscreen 4:3

Sound: Dolby Digital 1.0 Mono

Extras: Fassbinder In Hollywood documentary, Life Stories: A Conversation With R.W. Fassbinder, The City Tramp short film, interview with director Todd Haynes, trailer,

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