Tuesday, October 8, 2013

Mother Küsters Goes to Heaven (1975)

WHO: Brigitte Mira plays the title role in this film directed by Rainer Werner Fassbinder.

WHAT: This irony-drenched fable is one of my very favorite Fassbinder's films. Often called his "most political" film, it tackles serious issues but is perhaps more playful in tone than usual. Joanne Laurier and David Walsh co-authored a fine article on the film from a socialist perspective in 2003; they call it "perhaps the last work of his most valuable and politically radical phase of filmmaking, 1971-1975".

WHERE/WHEN: Screens 7PM tonight at the Roxie and at 8:30 on November 30th at the Pacific Film Archive in Berkeley.

WHY: The San Francisco and Berkeley venues showing 24 Fassbinder's films over the next months have done a very good job of coordinating screenings to maximize local cinephiles' chances at seeing as many of them as possible. Only last Friday's dual-venue opening of the season and tonight are there  conflicting screenings at both the PFA and the Roxie. While the latter screens Mother Küsters Goes to Heaven, the former shows Effi Briest, which will repeat on October 24th at the Yerba Buena Center for the Arts.

Though Mira appeared in over a dozen of Fassbinder's films and television works, only six of them are part of the PFA/YBCA/Roxie screening series. Luckily, both of her major 'leading lady' roles are represented, this and Ali: Fear Eats The Soul. Either one is eminently re-watchable for Fassbinder fans, and also an ideal introduction for a newcomer to his work.

HOW: 35mm.

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