Rainer Werner Fassbinder (writer and director) Liebe ist kälter als der Tod (Love Is Colder Than Death) / 1969
Fassbinder's first film, Love Is Colder Than Death, is both a comic work and a series of homages to various French New Wave directors, including Claude Chabrol and Jean-Luc Godard. But it also, coming as it does two years after Bonnie and Clyde, tips its hat to the American director, Arthur Penn, several times. There are moments in this film, a work filled with references to American gangster movies and American-produced objects, where Fassbinder seems to be quoting images and even scenes from Bonnie and Clyde, while simultaneously working against them.
The crimes they undertake, however, are once again insignificant or even meaningless. Their first "caper" might as well have been undertaken by the characters of Breakfast at Tiffany's instead of a crime movie. All three approach a shopclerk selling sunglasses, riddling her with questions that confuse her just enough that they can each slip a pair of glasses in their pockets.
A trip to a gun-selling cobbler results in their acquisition of guns (real and fake) and ends with the cobbler's death.
Even though all the shots have come from Bruno, Franz is later arrested and kept in jail overnight. But here too, Fassbinder, sucks all the drama from the event, as the detective asks him over and over where he was at a certain time, and who he was with. The police seem as ineffective as Franz is as a criminal.
Los Angeles, January 8, 2011