Y Sa Lo in Fassbinder’s “Die Dritte Generation” [1979 W.Germany]

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When he made “Die Dritte Generation” [Eng. Title: The Third Generation], Rainer Werner Fassbinder was disillusioned with far-left politics – he was thought to have been marginally sympathetic towards organisations like the R.A.F at the beginning, but here he was, two years after their crackdown, taking a harsh and cynical look at misguided and vague ideologies of such revolutionaries.

Die Dritte Generation is an unusual Fassbinder in that it is shot in a style very different to his earlier films, highly original nevertheless. Many of the dialogues and scenes are intentionally overlapped with sound from radio/TV, or text quoted from press editorials and public urinals, some of which is to make a historical reference point, but some are merely used to mock and talk over the characters, who are not only incompetent, but also don’t seem to have any firm convictions left. The film starts with a statement, “Dedicated to a true lover like no other – perhaps?”, which while sounding innocuous, is provocative coming from Fassbinder (he’s convinced there aren’t any left, and doesn’t spare innocent bystanders caught in the crossfire either). This lesser known but meticulously crafted gem of a dark comedy from Fassbinder is definitely one of his great films. The production values are excellent as usual, and includes one of his regulars, the beautiful Hanna Schygulla in the role of Susanne, one of the gang members and daughter in law of a police superintendent, and Fassbinder, apart from writing and directing, also handles the camera work. Needless to say, “Highly Recommended Viewing”.

Here’s a great value box-set, which includes this classic, along with some of his other films featured in the blog:
Amazon Artificial Eye DVD Box-set

“Die Welt als Wille und Vorstellung” (“The World as Will and Representation”, attributed to philosopher Arthur Schopenhauer) is the ironic codeword issued to activate a Berlin cell of a revolutionary wing – all the members had by then settled into benign middle-class existence. The film pokes fun at them as they ineptly seek targets and purpose. The father of one of the members also happens to be the police superintendent. But unbeknown to some of the members themselves, they are being funded by a multinational hi-tech company selling computers, as part of its marketing strategy. After a fall in terrorism levels, few companies wanted to invest in computer systems any more, and the company cynically uses the gang to engineer hi-profile hits to renew interest in its products. Add to this the ineptness of the gang and some misfits tagging along with them, a bundle of gags unfold in this unusual comedy about terrorism.



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