1971 was one of the most productive years for the incomparable Rainer Werner Fassbinder, finishing no less than three feature films and a clutch of TV films during the period. “Warnung vor einer Heiligen Nutte” [Eng. Title: Beware of the Holy Whore] takes a wry look at issues among his film crew from earlier productions, of course, using a lot of artistic license. Talk about washing dirty linen in public..!
What’s interesting about the film is that he uses the very same crew he’s talking about, only making many of them play a different crew/cast member. Same events are recreated, but not exactly in relation to a particular character – for e.g., something that happened to a particular crew member is attributed to someone else’s character. There is no story to tell in this film – it is just an observation, shot in the style of a ‘Behind the Scenes’ featurette, only this one is in full length, and without those ubiquitous camera interviews. Positively hilarious in places, it also gives us a vivid peek into their ‘communal’ and mixed-up lifestyles. There’s plenty of self-deprecating humour going on – Fassbinder himself is recreated as the volatile producer-director ‘Jeff’, performed by a young Lou Castel. Fassbinder acts in the film too, appearing as the production manager.
One thing we can’t grudge the Fassbinder Foundation is the loving manner in which they’ve restored his films to their original glory. This DVD is a superb remastering exercise that brings out all the efforts put in by the cast and crew in the finest detail commercially possible, and therefore definitely worth adding to your collection. This little gem is also a major departure from the Fassbinder films I’ve reviewed so far (mind you, I’m still working through his filmography). The best way to purchase it however is through the Rainer Werner Fassbinder commemorative collection box-set that feature no less than 9 of his earliest classics – much cheaper than having to buy them individually. Reason enough to say, Highly Recommended Viewing..!