Wednesday, January 14, 2015

The Music of Rainer Werner Fassbinder

Everything's coming up Fassbinder this month. First Criterion released The Bitter Tears of Petra von Kant on DVD and Blu-ray and yesterday, the wonderful Ubu Web published an article about Fassbinder's soundtracks and the use of sound and music in his films. It's excellent and thankfully includes a playlist with roughly 45-minutes of music with everything from beloved classics like Berlin Alexanderplatz and The Marriage of Maria Braun to more obscure works, such as Fear of Fear and I Only Want You to Love Me. Both the article and playlist come highly recommended and it cannot be stressed how important music was to his films -- for example, in Rio das mortes he appears in a cameo role, dancing to Elvis, and he directed a musical, made-for-TV film, Like a Bird on a Wire, named after a Leonard Cohen song.

If you need something a little more concrete, pick up this CD (pictured here), an anthology of composer Peer Raben's music for Fassbinder.

One of my favorite tracks is not included -- "So Much Tenderness," which was written by Fassbinder and Raben for The American Soldier. His then-lover Kaufmann provides the vocals. Listen here:

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