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NO MORALS WITHOUT STYLE

by
in Filmmaking
on May 31, 2007


Today GreenCine links to a couple of articles discussing Rainer Werner Fassbinder, his legacy, and allegations that the Fassbinder Foundation and its director, Juliane Lorenz, have “systematically erased” (to quote d.p. Michael Ballhaus) important figures like composer Peer Raben and actress (and ex-wife) Ingrid Caven from the Fassbinder history.

The key document is a translation in Sign and Sight of a Die Zeit interview with Caven (pictured here). Caven’s attack on Lorenz and the Foundation is what’s getting all the press attention, but the interview is also striking for Caven’s memories of Fassbinder’s sex life, the early days of the New German Cinema, and the political goals contained within the films.

An excerpt:

Die Zeit: In 1981, Fassbinder said that of all the many people who had once lined up “to effect the realisable Utopia” only he, Peer Raben and you remained. What did this Utopia look like?

Caven: It was about fundamental structural changes in feeling and thinking. Even if we didn’t manage to pull it off. You know, I still think today that we failed to communicate something vital to the generation that followed us. Back then, in the sixties and seventies, there was a vehement need for all artists to confront the German past and also to intervene in everyday history. This attracted a lot of attention for us personally and for our own needs. And it forced us to confront power relations in love and in life. All this was essential for our survival as artists in post-war German society. At the same time it was always clear that if we wanted to analyse something, perhaps even destroy it, this could not happen at the cost of style. What remains of us is that we were wild and tempestuous and that somehow everything was rock ‘n’ roll. It was an enormously aggressive force which expressed itself through a style. Style and form – everything rested on this. No style without morals, no morals without style. But this also affects the way you live your life. It soon becomes clear that there’s no separation of artistic work and life.

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