John Wick: Chapter 3 - Parabellum
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Fassbinder's penultimate film is an ode to classical Hollywood (most notably Billy WIlder's Sunset Boulevard), which actually undermines Fassbinder's talents for being a maestro of the New-Wave. Veronika Voss succeeds in capturing the look of a by-gone era, with stylish editing and authentic black-and-white cinematography, but it's hard not to miss the director's beautifully turgid aesthetic that he supplied to almost all his other films. Also, the film's story of a drug-adled former film star had the potential to concoct one of his most sincere films, but instead its muddled at best, and ends on a sour and anti-climactic note. There are still some great scenes in the film, and strong performances, but it's ultimately a lesser entry in the Fassbinder canon.
my review: http://wp.me/p1eXom-22e
This is my personal favorite Fassbinder film. Imaginative, surreal and metaphor laden - Veronika Voss will not be ignored. Nor should this film and Rosel Zech's performance be missed. Sublime filmmaking.
Based on the true story of German film star Sybille Schmitz, famous for her appearances in films like Vampyr (1930) and the German propaganda Titanic (1943), Veronika Voss is a stylishly filmed tragedy about a reporter in the Munich of 1955 that tries to follow the story about the famous actress of the same name (Veronika Voss), and finds out that her self-destructive nature is even worsened by her personal Doctor who keeps her captive under the use of morphine to gain control of everything that belongs to Veronika, including her own life.
What first stands out before anything is the immaculate visual style, which can be used as evidence of Fassbinder's aesthetic genius and cinematic versatility. The set design is so great and the usage of the B&W colors so vivid (ironically) that the film scratches the realm of the otherworldly. The whole aesthetic structure functions as a neo-noir of exaggerated contrasts, in which we barely get any grey tones. Everything is either blinding white or pitch dark. This is notable in the contrast between the utter darkness of the exterior scenery and the internal set design of the doctor's facilities, where the entire furniture is white-colored so that the only things that stand out are the characters' faces.
Secondly, this is the third part of the BRD (Bundesrepublik Deutschland) trilogy, and the story is credited to be reminiscent of Wilder's Sunset Blvd. (1950), showcasing the psychological downfall of an actress. Only this time, a crime/thriller element is added to the formula where an external party malevolently acts over the will of the actress, deteriorating all of Veronika's efforts to pull off a single scene successfully. The reference to Wilder's noir piece is acceptable, but not a direct comparison to see which one is precisely better, because both films play the cards very differently.
Thirdly, I would dare to say the film inspired the visual style of several others in the future, starting with Zentropa (1991), the war neo-noir that debatedly inspired the comic-book look of the film adaptations of Frank Miller's comic books, but not only in the terms of visuals, but also plot handling and character development. What would make Veronika Voss special is the great ability of Fassbinder to construct a tragedy out of his BRD stories. Events escalate until reaching a tragic climax that turns all the preceding events upside down and makes you reflect on the purpose of it all. But the outcome always hits hard.
One of the most special films of the decade and definitely one that was ahead of its time in its attempt to pay tribute to te genres that inspired it while drawing a map of influence and inspiration for other projects to come, Veronika Voss consolidates Fassbinder as one of the greatest minds to ever have worked in European cinema, a great artist, and a moving dramatist.
I'm just going to go right out and say it: this film makes Sunset Boulevard look absolutely trivial.
With a black-and-white cinematography that emulates the visual style of movies from the 1950s, this bleak story - the second of Fassbinder's BRD Trilogy - invests in a downbeat approach, icier than the other two, with an end that curiously parallels the director's own demise.
Bleak melodrama about an aging starlet who has become an embarrassment and a threat to those around her. This movie does not entirely work as a fable of German post war history and economics, but the amazing black and white photography made me not care that much that the allegory is either too subtle for a non- German audience or incomplete. I could not take my eyes off it.
At first I thought I was going to be watching a sort of-kind of remake of "Sunset Blvd." (much "Ali: Fear Eats the Soul" is a remake of sorts of "All That Heaven Allows"). But it turned out very, very different (and a bit darker, in a way). A sports writer meets and finds himself drawn to a fading movie star with whom he has an affair. But she masks a dark secret of being addicted to morphine and being essentially tortured and controlled by a money-grubbing doctors. The film is beautifully photographed in very expressive black & white and is often punctuated by beautiful, almost surreal production design. Great performances too. Now I need to see the rest of Fassbinder's BRD trilogy
Not just a remake of sunset blvd. but rather a dark look at a fallen star. Inspired by a real actress (which I can't think of the name right away). Not as good as Maria Braun but still excellent, beautiful B&W, and a very cold story. Fassbender's last completed film is also one of his best.