Love Is Colder Than Death

Director: Rainer Werner Fassbinder
Year Released: 1969
Rating: 2.5

Fassbinder's first feature is a love poem to the gangster picture, but told with RWF's distinctive approach, including his fascination with brooding, chain-smoking, disenfranchised Germans who always seem to be deep in thought (or deep in sorrow). Some of this is very clumsy and there is a lot of silly theatrical posing - much of Fassbinder's mental energy seems devoted to turning Ulli Lommel into a dead ringer for Alain Delon in Le Samouraï, Hanna Schygulla into a whore Dietrich and himself into Brecht ... but the spirit is admittedly in place. The fact that RWF went from making this to the brilliant The Marriage of Maria Braun 10 years later shows precisely how remarkable his development as a storyteller and stylist truly were - if he'd have learned to run faster from his demons (and continued to work in the cinema), it's inconceivable what he may have been able to achieve.