Rainer Werner Fassbinder

A generation after the fall of the Third Reich, the wounded bear of German cinema came roaring out of hibernation. Volker Schlöndorff, Wim Wenders and that mystic genius Werner Herzog revitalized the nation's movie art. But no one could match, in quantity or searing cynicism, the output of Rainer Werner Fassbinder, who startled the world with his prolific prodigality, writing and directing four films in 1969 and seven movies in 1970, when he turned 25.

In The Bitter Tears of Petra von Kant and The Marriage of Maria Braun, in Martha and his 15 1/2-hour masterpiece Berlin Alexanderplatz,...

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