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Understanding Rainer Werner Fassbinder
Film as Private and Public Art

Wallace Steadman Watson

A comprehensive, balanced review of Fassbinder's life and career

Understanding Rainer Werner Fassbinder introduces scholars and students to the controversial and prolific but brief career of a filmmaker hailed as one of the New German Cinema's most talented exponents. Combining a chronological survey with a thematic exploration, Wallace Steadman Watson reviews the entirety of Fassbinder's artistic output, focusing specifically on fifteen of the filmmaker's thirty-eight feature-length works. Watson's interpretations of these films, all of which he studied in Germany, scrutinize the financial constraints, material conditions, and script development involved in their production.

Watson draws on a wide assortment of Fassbinder interviews—many of which are not available in English—and on theoretical and critical approaches employed in the Frankfort School, performance and reception theories, gay and lesbian film theory, and studies of melodrama and camp. Watson also incorporates his own interviews with Fassbinder's mother and with the woman who served as Fassbinder's film editor and companion during the final four years of his life.

Wallace Steadman Watson is a professor of English at Duquesne University in Pittsburgh, where he teaches film and modern British and European literature.

"Watson provides a far more intelligent analysis of Fassbinder's adaptations than will be found in other books. . . . It has the heft and feel of a labor of love that is both scholarly and eminently readable, a book that will be consulted for years to come."—Literature/Film Quarterly


Back in Print

book jacket for Understanding Rainer Werner Fassbinder


6 x 9
338 pages
19 illustrations
ISBN 978-1-57003-079-6
hardcover, $39.95s

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