Tag Archives: rebecca harkins-cross

Harkins-Cross On Fassbinder

Harkins Cross On Fassbinder

“At the end of the film he just picks up a lampshade and bludgeons everyone in his house to death, and it's this awful despairing moment but it's kind of funny as well, like that's the most levity you can hope for in a Fassbinder film.”

Given he appears to have influenced everyone from Quentin Tarantino to Lars von Trier, we don't talk about Rainer Werner Fassbinder nearly enough.

Fassbinder died at the shockingly young age of 37, and yet his output was prodigious: forty feature films, two television series, multiple short films, stage plays, radio plays, and performances in numerous films, by both himself and others.

So who was this mysterious, workaholic figure of the German New Wave? Rebecca Harkins-Cross joins us for a discussion that will be of interest to both Fassbinder experts and those who have never heard of him before.

But before we dig into Fassbinder, we look back at some of the films of this past month, including Steven Spielberg and Melissa Mathison's adaptation of Roald Dahl's classic The BFG, the continuing adventures of the USS Enterprise in Star Trek Beyond, and Paul Feig's reboot of Ghostbusters. Our reactions to these films may surprise you.

For further reading, check out Fassbinder's own top ten films of all time to get an idea of which films and filmmakers influenced him.

And finally, we take our research very, very seriously on Hell Is For Hyphenates. It's not enough to simply watch the films, we now travel to the global locations where key works were filmed! A few months ago, Lee checked out the place that one of Fassbinder's best-known works was named for:

Lee takes the Fassbinder prep way too seriously and visits Berlin Alexanderplatz
Lee takes the Fassbinder prep way too seriously and visits Berlin Alexanderplatz

Outro music: “I Can’t Control Myself”, written by Reg Presley and performed by The Troggs, from Das Klein Chaos (1966)

Download or stream the episode from our website, listen via Stitcher Smart Radio, or subscribe on iTunes!

Hell Is For Hyphenates – July 2016

Writer, editor and critic Rebecca Harkins-Cross joins the Hyphenates to talk some of the key films of July 2016, including Steven Spielberg’s The BFG, Justin Lin’s Star Trek Beyond and Paul Feig’s Ghostbusters. Then Rebecca takes us through the extraordinary, unbelievable filmography of German New Wave’s enfant terrible writer/director/actor Rainer Werner Fassbinder.

The Rainer Werner Fassbinder Cheat Sheet

Rainer Werner Fassbinder

Want to become an instant expert in our filmmaker of the month without committing yourself to an entire filmography? Then you need the Hell Is For Hyphenates Cheat Sheet: we program you a double that will not only make for a great evening's viewing, but bring you suitably up-to-speed before our next episode lands…

RWF Films


This was a particularly difficult cheat sheet to do. Not because there weren't enough options, but because there were too many. There are so many combinations of great Fassbinder films that would be equally valid, but we're pretty happy programming this particular pairing. We kick your evening off with Ali: Fear Eats the Soul. For a director with a reputation as an edgy provocateur, it's something of a surprise to see a film as gentle and beautiful as Ali. It follows the unlikely relationship that forms between a 60-year-old widowed cleaning woman, and a younger Moroccan immigrant. Fassbinder's love of Douglas Sirk films are apparent, and Ali is often hailed as his masterpiece. Follow that up with Chinese Roulette, a tremendously-engaging psychological thriller about a married man and woman who simultaneously discover they are cheating on one another. They decide to try to be civil and spend the weekend together as a foursome, but things are complicated when their young daughter and her governess unexpectedly appear. It's dramatic, thrilling and a must-watch.

Substitutions: Can't get or have already seen Ali: Fear Eats the Soul? Then seek out 1975's Fox and his Friends, a superb drama starring Fassbinder as a decidedly unsophisticated circus performer who wins the lottery and falls in love with the son of an industrialist. If you can't get or have already seen Chinese Roulette, check out 1972's The Bitter Tears of Petra Von Kant. The film takes place within the bedroom of the titular Petra, a fashion designer who falls obsessively in love with a cunning, working-class young woman seeking a career in modeling. It's a twisty psychological drama ever bit as compelling as Chinese Roulette.

The Hidden Gem: Want to see something from off the beaten path? Check out 1973's World on a Wire. This was Fassbinder's only science fiction film, adapted from Daniel F Galouye's Simulacron-3 and made as a two-part TV series. You'll be amazed at how many modern science fiction classics were so obviously inspired by this fantastic work.

The next episode of Hell Is For Hyphenates, featuring Rebecca Harkins-Cross talking Rainer Werner Fassbinder, will be released on the morning of July 31 (AEST).

Our Next Hyphenate Rebecca Harkins-Cross

Rebecca Harkins Cross
Writer, critic and July 2016 Hyphenate Rebecca Harkins-Cross

It’s okay, you’re not experiencing deja vu. Well, look, you might be, we can’t know what’s inside your head. But yes, we have announced Rebecca a couple of time in the past, and have been thwarted both times (one time by a legit volcano). But after checking on all the potential volcanos around the world, we felt confident that this would be the month we would have her on board!

Rebecca is the film editor at The Big Issue, the theatre critic for The Age, and writes regularly for The Lifted Brow. Her work has also appeared in The Saturday Paper, The Australian, Meanjin, The Lifted Brow, Crikey, Senses of Cinema, and numerous other. And we are very excited to have her on board.

So which prolific director has Rebecca picked?

None other than German New Wave director Rainer Werner Fassbinder!
Directed By Fassbinder

Fassbinder is a bit of a legendary figure; prolific and influential, and yet still not really a household name, even in the households of many affirmed film fanatics.

Despite only living to 37, Fassbinder managed to make a whopping forty feature films, and that was in addition to his two television series, three short films, twenty-four stage plays, four radio plays, and plenty more. His output was prodigious, especially given he stopped around the age that so many get started.

If you're a fan of his work, this show should be right up your alley. If you've only seen a couple of his films, or even if you've never seen any, or even if you've never heard of him, then it'll be up your alley too: this episode will be a crash course in who Fassbinder was and what made him such an iconic filmmaker.

But what is it about Fassbinder and his films that appeals to Rebecca? Tune in on July 31 to find out!

Rainer Werner Fassbinder
Our next filmmaker of the month, Rainer Werner Fassbinder