Bavaria, Germany was the place and May 31, 1945 was the date Rainer Werner Fassbinder was born. He was a very important figure in the New German Cinema. He kept up a frenetic pace in filmmaking and for a career that was very short he completed 40 feature films, two television series, and three short films. Fassbinder also had four video products, twenty-fur stage plays and four radio plays. He acted in 36 films and worked as an author, cameramen, designer, editor, theater manager and composer. What he could have done if he had lived longer! Fassbinder died at the age of 37 from a concoction of cocaine and barbiturates.
Fassbinder desired to provoke and annoy audiences. He had great creative energy and worked with a wild and self-destructive libertinism. He was known as the enfant terrible of New German Cinema. He had tortured personal relationships. His pictures have deep sensitivity to social outsiders and he hates institutionalized violence.
When Fassbinder was 18 he took acting lessons and attended the Fridl-Leonhard Studio for Actors. He met Hanna Schygulla who was one of his most important characters. He made 8mm films and took jobs as assistant direct, actor and sound man. He wrote the tragic comic play Drops on Hot Stones. After being turned down to the Berlin Film School, Fassbinder retuned to Munich and made two short films, The City Tramp in 1965 and The Little Chaos in 1966.
Love is Colder than Death in 1969 was a black and white feature length film that deconstructed the American gangster films of the 1930-1950s. Fassbinder plays a lead part in the movie. This film was a snapshot of the type of work Fassbinder loved to do. In 1970 he shot Why Does Herr R. Ran Amok? In color and in 1970 he made The American Soldier. In 1971 he filmed Beware of a Holy Whore which was based on a personal experience. He continued to make films throughout the 1970s and 1980s and his last film Querelle in 1982 was based on the novel Querelle de Best. Fassbinder did not live to see the premier of this film.
Fassbinder was engaged in multiple relationships with women and men. His family friends and lovers appeared in his films. In 1970 he married Ingrid Caven and the marriage last two years. He used heavy doses of drugs and alcohol to sustain his unrelenting work schedule. He died with a cigarette still between his lips.