Directed by Rainer Werner Fassbinder
West Germany, 1969
HOME, 18 May 2017
This is a pared down film, an adaptation of Fassbinder‘s own play, which examines contemporary (circa 1969) attitudes to women, foreigners, homosexuality, etc.
It may be of another time and country but, you know, ‘Dauer im Wechsel’ and all that.
What strikes me on watching the film now is Fassbinder‘s concern with gossip and rumour. Others have noted this too, no doubt, but it is especially apparent because we live in an era of ‘fake news’. It is the pernicious nature of rumour that Fassbinder focuses on, the way it allows latent prejudice to fester and spread without being checked by facts or truth. Rumour is inchoate ideology. These people are not evil but they are vulnerable because they are credulous and care too much what others think. They are susceptible to hate and indifference. A propensity towards violence is always present.
Katzelmacher is an interesting early film by the great director, and well worth watching on that account, but hardly your average entertaining blockbuster.