A new exhibition at Bonn’s Bundeskunsthalle museum is dedicated to the German director who was extremely prolific despite his destructive lifestyle.

Bonn: A visitor stands in front of a set photo from the film “Love is Colder than Death” showing Rainer Werner Fassbinder (Photo: Oliver Berg/dpa)

10 September 2021 to 6 March 2022

Rainer Werner Fassbinder (1945-1982) was a director, film producer, actor and author. As one of the key representatives of the New German Cinema, he succeeded in synthesising radical subjectivity and social analysis in his work, capturing the look and feel of the Federal Republic of Germany of his time like few other artists.
The retrospective, chronologically structured exhibition paints a multifaceted portrait of the great German filmmaker in the context of his time. His oeuvre, shown in combination with archive and source material, is presented as an unparalleled social document, and his biography is compellingly interwoven with the reality of the everyday life he experienced in Germany. A selection of documents, letters, archive material, photographs, quotations, personal objects, costumes and film compilations facilitate contextualisation.
Fassbinder’s exposed position, his creative non-conformity and artistic radicalism led to now-legendary films, television and theatre plays, such as FEAR EATS THE SOUL, THE MARRIAGE OF MARIA BRAUN, EIGHT HOURS DON’T MAKE A DAY, BERLIN ALEXANDERPLATZ and QUERELLE, which have become part of the collective visual memory. He was extremely prolific: in a career that lasted less than two decades, he wrote, directed or shot 45 feature films and 25 plays. From the beginning, he moved between theatre, film/television and documentary styles, adroitly adapting his visual language to the needs of each form.
Fassbinder lived and demanded intensity. His often contrary, critical attitude never got in the way of his profoundly affectionate depiction of people, irrespective of their milieu, and was invariably marked by respect and consistency. Fassbinder’s work – the subject of fierce debate during his lifetime – has lost none of its force, vitality and significance. To understand it means to be able to muster understanding and tolerance for ourselves and others.

An exhibition of the Bundeskunsthalle, Bonn, in cooperation with the DFF – Deutsches Filminstitut & Filmmuseum, Frankfurt am Main, and the Rainer Werner Fassbinder Foundation, Berlin.


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