Sunday, December 15, 2013

In A Year of Thirteen Moons (1978)

WHO: Written and directed by Rainer Werner Fassbinder

WHAT: According to Wallace Steadman Watson this was one of the three films that Fassbinder, when asked about his favorites of his own films shortly before his death in 1982, cited as "important" along with Beware of a Holy Whore and The Third Generation. Ed Gonzalez has insightfully drawn a link between Beware of a Holy Whore and In A Year of Thirteen Moons as films marked by devastating events in Fassbinder's personal and professional life just prior to their production; In A Year of Thirteen Moons was made just after the suicide of Fassbinder's ex-lover Armin Meier following their breakup. Meier had appeared in several of Fassbinder's films, at least twice (in Fear of Fear and Mother Küsters Goes to Heaven playing the husband to a shrewish Irm Herrman housewife. I have not seen In A Year of Thirteen Moons yet myself, however. 

WHERE/WHEN: Screens today at 5:15 at the Pacific Film Archive and 7:30 next Saturday, December 21st at Yerba Buena Center For the Arts.

WHY: I've long been warned that although In A Year of Thirteen Moons is one of Fassbinder's most rewarding films, it's also one whose rewards may not be apparent to a viewer who has little experience with and understanding of the writer-director through his other films, so I've held off on seeing it. With a good portion of the multi-venue retrospective held over the past months under my belt, I think it may be time for me to finally seek out this reputed masterpiece (ranked 3rd of Fassbinder's films by the contributors to the 2012 Sight & Sound critics poll behind Ali: Fear Eats the Soul and Berlin Alexanderplatz, and tied with the latter for 3rd by the directors polled that year, who put Veronika Voss in the #2 slot). It seems fitting, then, that both the PFA and YBCA series, and in fact their entire slate of 2013 film programming, ends with this film.

HOW: 35mm imported print

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