Anurag Jain's Blog
Wednesday, July 09, 2008

Film Series - The Flying Eye continues this weekend 
"Greetings from the Goethe-Institut/Max Mueller Bhavan!

This is a reminder that the Film Series: The Flying Eye, featuring the German cinematographer Michael Ballhaus continues this weekend, with screenings on Friday, Saturday and Sunday. The schedule and synopses of films are attached and we would be grateful if you could announce the screenings in your columns once again.

Event: Film Series - The Flying Eye
Retrospective: Michael Ballhaus
Date: July 11 - 13, 2008
Venue: Goethe-Institut/Max Mueller Bhavan
Free Entry. All are welcome!

For further details, please call the Bhavan: 2520 5305/6/7/8 or visit our website:

Michael Ballhaus - Profile:
Born in Berlin in 1935, Michael Ballhaus began working as a cameraman for the Südwestfunk in Baden-Baden following a photography apprenticeship. His friendship with director Peter Lilienthal led in 1968 to a teaching position at the newly-founded German Film and TV Academy in Berlin. Ballhaus describes the critical relationship with his students and the student movement, as well as the opportunity to experiment at the film school, as extraordinarily fruitful for his camera work.

His work with Rainer Werner Fassbinder began in 1970 with the film WHITY. It was at this time that Ballhaus developed his unique style. Fassbinder filmed primarily on location, a particular challenge for a cameraman. Furthermore, Fassbinder often worked with only a few cuts, requiring complex tracking shots. In 1973, for the film MARTHA, Ballhaus and Fassbinder developed the legendary 360-degree tracking shot, in which the camera moves in a circle around the actor. This became a hallmark of Ballhaus' style.

Following the Fassbinder film THE MARRIAGE OF MARIA BRAUN, the last one which he and Ballhaus worked on together, Ballhaus began a second career in America in the early 1980s, where he rapidly became one of Hollywood's most sought-after cameramen and significantly influenced both German film during one of its most interesting phases, as well as Hollywood's film aesthetic. In the 1960s and 1970s, he worked with major German directors such as Peter Lilienthal, Rainer Werner Fassbinder, Wim Wenders, and Volker Schlöndorff.

In the United States, Ballhaus worked not only with Scorsese but with directors such as John Sales, James Foley, Paul Newman, Peter Yates, Jim Brooks, Frank Oz, Steve Kloves, Francis Ford Coppola, Wolfgang Petersen, Robert Redford and Mike Nichols, the last of whom said that "working with Michael is like being in heaven, only you don't have to die for it."

Ballhaus' curiosity about cinematic innovation has never flagged, and at the same time, he never forgets that at the heart of every good film is a person with existential conflicts. In fascinating fashion, Ballhaus harmoniSes an intimate look at his film figures with technical complexity.

Thank you in anticipation, for your cooperation,

Sincerely yours,

Maureen Gonsalves
Programme Coordinator
Goethe-Institut/Max Mueller Bhavan
716 CMH Road
Indiranagar 1st Stage
Bangalore 560 038
Ph: +91 80 2520 5305/06/07/08-203
Fax: +91 80 2520 5309

The Flying Eye
Retrospective: Michael Ballhaus
Film Series
July 4 - 6 & 11 - 13, 2008
Goethe-Institut/Max Mueller Bhavan

Screening Schedule
All films (but one) in 16 mm format, with English sub-titles

Friday July 11, 2008, 6.30 p.m.
Chinese Roulette (Chinesisches Roulette)

Saturday July 12, 2008, 4.00 p.m.
I only want you to love me (Ich will doch nur, dass ihr mich liebt)

6.00 p.m.
The Marriage of Maria Braun (Die Ehe der Maria Braun)

Sunday July 13, 2008, 6.30 p.m.
I don't just want you to love me (Ich will nicht nur, daß ihr mich liebt)

Film Synopses

Chinese Roulette (Chinesisches Roulette)
Rainer Werner Fassbinder, col., 86’, 1976
A couple says goodbye to one another one Friday. Each claims to have to go on a business trip over the weekend, but the husband and his wife inadvertently meet again at their country house. And each is accompanied by a different partner. The couple's physically disabled but highly intelligent daughter, Angela, is perhaps the only one to see through her parents' plans and sets off to the country house accompanied by her dumb governess. In all the confrontations, the child coolly and calculatingly holds the strings of intrigue in her hands. A game of truth is finally played at Angela's request; all the people present in the house take part in "Chinese roulette", a game that is just as murderous as its Russian counterpart.
"Marriage and the way it destroys people because it is really inhuman, the way children are brought up inside a marriage and what must inevitably become of these children: a subject worth considering." The words were written by Fassbinder in an essay on Claude Chabrol in 1975. One year later, he took up the subject in Chinese Roulette and combined it with some of his other preferred motifs. The film is primarily concerned with exploiting and calculating emotions and with revealing life's falsehoods.

I only want you to love me (Ich will doch nur, dass ihr mich liebt)
Rainer Werner Fassbinder, col. 104’, 1976

A man is interviewed by a sympathetic woman. His tale unfolds, of hard work that never pleases his parents, of a father who denigrates his efforts, of an indifferent mother. He builds them a house. Instead of offering their flat to him and his bride, they give the flat up, so he goes to Munich to work in construction, bringing his wife who soon becomes pregnant. They buy things on credit; he works overtime. He shows up with flowers and expensive gifts. When construction slows and he works less overtime, he cannot adjust his spending habits: he needs to be loved. Pressures mount. When he snaps, and violence ensues, who will be his victim?

The Marriage of Maria Braun (Die Ehe der Maria Braun)
Rainer Werner Fassbinder, col., 120’., 1978
Maria and Hermann Braun married in 1943; they were able to spend half a day and half a night together, then he had to return to the Eastern front. When the war ends, Maria searches for Hermann among the returning soldiers, but in vain; at the same time, she also begins to organise her life more effectively, becomes involved in the black market and takes on a job in a club for the American occupation forces. A returning soldier Willi informs her that Hermann was killed in action. She meets Bill, a black American at the US club, learns English, is given presents and becomes pregnant. While she is lying in bed with Bill one evening, Hermann appears at the door…
The Marriage of Maria Braun was Rainer Werner Fassbinder's first major international cinema success. Fassbinder's narrative is purposeful, full of motifs and moods, a chronicle of Konrad Adenauer's era, the period of reconstruction and the beginning of the economic miracle. Although used as a contrast and with considerable irony, the German football team's achievement in winning the World Cup in Switzerland in 1954 is all part of the general setting: this is the moment in which a nation recovered its self-esteem.
I don't just want you to love me (Ich will nicht nur, dass ihr mich liebt)
Hans Günther Pflaum, col., 103’, 1992
A documentary film about Rainer Werner Fassbinder which was produced for the tenth anniversary of the film producer's death in Munich on 10 June 1982. Hans Günther Pflaum pursues three tracks. Firstly, he lets many of Fassbinder's colleagues describe him personally, his specific way of working and the importance of the director. Then Fassbinder provides his own commentary with the aid of material from the archives. Finally, these statements are illustrated and supplemented by excerpts from Fassbinder's work. The documentation is made up of ten chapters. They focus in part on the director's life from his childhood until his death and partly on artistic topics, such as the camera, actors or music.

Looking back, it seems that a whole era of New German Cinema ended with the death of Rainer Werner Fassbinder. During his life, the director was frequently the centre of polemical arguments; he attracted both the attention and the aggressions of the German public in a manner unmatched by any of his colleagues, above all because he also moved between the front lines on the political level too. He once said that "I shoot in all directions". Due to a thorough misunderstanding, the title of one of his television plays I only want you to love me was once taken to be a personal confession and the title of Pflaum's documentary film is an attempt to eliminate that misunderstanding. Fassbinder was never an obliging artist. "

Comments: Post a Comment