Saturday, August 27, 2005

Fassbinder's Beware of a Holy Whore


Every shot in Rainer Werner Fassbinder’s Beware of a Holy Whore is replete with onlookers; their gaze is apathetic and bored. They watch everyone, waiting for someone to begin their job, for within the symbiotic machine of movie making, one cannot do their job unless someone else is pulling their end; yet no one seems to be able to start work. This perpetuating indecision finds its genesis with the director, played by Lou Castel, who refuses to direct those who cannot work without direction. Ideally, our actions are to be executed independent from others. Fassbinder’s characters cannot live up to this, their own fantasy concocted to protect them from committing fully to a relationship; they discover that in any relationship there isn’t a balance of power: the scale is always a variable skew.

Fassbinder’s preoccupation with pestilent relationships has been extrapolated here, and it seems as relevant to business as it does to personal relationships. But Fassbinder has always been interested in the relationship of love and money – there is always a logical side to relationships to balance the illogic of passion and whim. With production halted, the movie’s set, a regal palace, is turned into a stagnant oasis. Castel sits at the bar drinking his night away, prolonging any decision as long as he can. Finishing his drink, he smashes the glass and says (something to the effect of), “If I don’t have glasses to smash, life isn’t worth living.” Combustion needs fuel; creative temperament needs an outlet and artists, for Fassbinder at least, may be brilliant, but they are destructive as well.

The ensemble casting has always been a favorite of Fassbinder, who likes to work with microcosmic societies. Aside from Castel, there is Hannah Shygulla, French actor Eddie Constantine, Fassbinder himself, and a handful of colorful actors that might ring a bell from the hoards of other Fassbinder movies out there. But with so many people and so many relationships, Fassbinder avoids possible saturation (and didacticism) and bleeds these themes evenly over all the characters: no one is wasted.

1 comment:

M.D. said...

Well Gallagher, I blame you. I started a little movie diary like you thought I should... it's at filmcompliment.blogspot.com. I hope you enjoy it...
(don't let the pretentious handle confuse you, it's good ol' Carl N who sent you this message).