R.W. Fassbinder and Daniel Schmid: Shadow of Angels

In his relatively brief lifetime of 37 years, Rainer Werner Fassbinder turned out 21 feature films, two TV mini-series (Berlin Alexanderplatz, Eight Hours Don’t Make a Day), 11 made-for-TV movies, 1 documentary, several film shorts, and numerous theatrical productions. He also helmed an episode of the quasi-documentary/fiction compilation Germany in Autumn (1978), served as producer on other German films like Tenderness of the Wolves (1973) and appeared as an actor, not only in many of his own films but in those of other contemporaries from the New German cinema like Volker Schlondorff. Fassbinder’s role as the contemptuous anti-social rebel Baal (1970), adapted for television by Schlondorff from Bertolt Brecht’s play, is one of his finest performances (Criterion released a beautifully restored version of it on Blu-ray and DVD in March 2018). Equally impressive but lesser known is Daniel Schmid’s Shadow of Angels (Schatten der Engel, 1976), which is based on Fassbinder’s play The Garbage, the City and Death and features R.W. in a pivotal role.

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A West German Fable by Rolf Thiele

Why does it often seem like the accumulation of great wealth and power by individuals does not necessarily come with an equal respect for ethics and morality? For Marion (Nadja Tiller), the heroine of Rolf Thiele’s Moral 63, the path to unbridled success is merely an escalating series of business transactions with rich and influential men who reward her for being beautiful, accommodating and discreet. Who cares about honor or virtue in a society where those attributes have no monetary value? Continue reading