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Katzelmacher


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Product Details

  • Actors: Hanna Schygulla, Lilith Ungerer, Rudolf Waldemar Brem, Elga Sorbas, Doris Mattes
  • Directors: Rainer Werner Fassbinder
  • Writers: Rainer Werner Fassbinder
  • Producers: Peer Raben
  • Format: Black & White, DVD-Video, Subtitled, NTSC
  • Language: German
  • Subtitles: English
  • Region: Region 1 (US and Canada This DVD will probably NOT be viewable in other countries. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • MPAA Rating: NR
  • Studio: Paradox
  • Release Date: Oct. 1 2002
  • Run Time: 88 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B00006FD9X
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #86,239 in DVD (See Top 100 in DVD)

Product Description

Katzelmacher follows the lives of an aimless group of friends whose lives take an interesting turn when a Greek immigrant (R.W. Fassbinder) moves in.

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Format: DVD
Fassbinder's second feature film, Katzelmacher (1969), is a tour de force of stark visual beauty and ambiguous but riveting characters. The DVD transfer from Wellspring is pristine.
Shot in just nine days on a shoestring budget (DEM 80,000, then US $25,000), Katzelmacher explores the rootless but circumscribed lives of a group of young working class people in a Munich apartment complex. Violence lies just below the surface, as we see when a Greek "guest worker" named Jorgos (played by Fassbinder) moves in and becomes involved with one of the women, Marie (played by the great Hanna Schygulla, who appeared in half of Fassbinder's films). The men's increasing hostility towards the "Katzelmacher" (a Bavarian sexual slur for a foreign laborer), coupled with the immigrant's incomprehension, leads to the film's powerful climax. The film won several prestigious awards (the substantial prize money financed Fassbinder's next projects) and decisively established its 23-year-old writer/director/actor - and editor (using his pseudonym of "Franz Walsch") - as a rising star of German cinema.
While stylistically austere, like his other early films, we can already see Fassbinder's trademark interplay of social criticism and melodrama. And although he based Katzelmacher on his original play, he uses purely cinematic - visual and sound - means to explore his inarticulate but richly-drawn characters. Fassbinder takes visual cues from such then-recent works as Godard's My Life to Live (1963) and Bergman's Persona (1966), yet his film feels wrenched from life, not made up from earlier works. The severe images (bare walls, bare lives, and sometimes bare bodies) viscerally convey not only the world which these people inhabit but their deepest natures.
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Format: DVD
RW Fassbinder's second feature won't be a hot rental at Blockbuster anytime soon, but it is a rewarding film--meditative, revelatory, KATZELMACHER unfolds without urgency but envelops the audience in its characters' anomie (angst?) in 1969 Deutschland. Exploring the dead-end lives of working class stiffs (who don't seem to do much work), the story concerns the upheaval caused by the arrival of a Greek worker (played by Fassbinder) to their staid neighborhood. DVD quality is excellent, part of Wellspring's gorgeous RWF Foundation-sponsored reissues, considering the 16mm B&W source material. Hans Hirschmuller, so memorable as the title character in THE MERCHANT OF FOUR SEASONS (also on Wellspring DVD with commentary by Wim Wenders), shows much of his early promise in this film. Highly recommended to Fassbinder fans, New German Cinema fans, indie cineastes, students of film, gastarbeiters and Harry Baer lovers. Keep an eye out for THE BITTER TEARS OF PETRA VON KANT, THE NIKLASHAUSEN JOURNEY, RIO DAS MORTES, MARTHA, WHY DOES HERR R RUN AMOK and IN A YEAR OF 13 MOONS, all coming soon to DVD from Wellspring and Fantoma (who put out the excellent WHITY and PIONEERS OF INGOLSTADT).
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)

Amazon.com: 5 reviews
19 of 21 people found the following review helpful
Katzelmacher is a tour de force Jan. 5 2003
By J. Clark - Published on Amazon.com
Format: DVD
Fassbinder's second feature film, Katzelmacher (1969), is a tour de force of stark visual beauty and ambiguous but riveting characters. The DVD transfer from Wellspring is pristine.
Shot in just nine days on a shoestring budget (DEM 80,000, then US $25,000), Katzelmacher explores the rootless but circumscribed lives of a group of young working class people in a Munich apartment complex. Violence lies just below the surface, as we see when a Greek "guest worker" named Jorgos (played by Fassbinder) moves in and becomes involved with one of the women, Marie (played by the great Hanna Schygulla, who appeared in half of Fassbinder's films). The men's increasing hostility towards the "Katzelmacher" (a Bavarian sexual slur for a foreign laborer), coupled with the immigrant's incomprehension, leads to the film's powerful climax. The film won several prestigious awards (the substantial prize money financed Fassbinder's next projects) and decisively established its 23-year-old writer/director/actor - and editor (using his pseudonym of "Franz Walsch") - as a rising star of German cinema.
While stylistically austere, like his other early films, we can already see Fassbinder's trademark interplay of social criticism and melodrama. And although he based Katzelmacher on his original play, he uses purely cinematic - visual and sound - means to explore his inarticulate but richly-drawn characters. Fassbinder takes visual cues from such then-recent works as Godard's My Life to Live (1963) and Bergman's Persona (1966), yet his film feels wrenched from life, not made up from earlier works. The severe images (bare walls, bare lives, and sometimes bare bodies) viscerally convey not only the world which these people inhabit but their deepest natures.
Despite, or perhaps because, of its relentlessly minimalist style, the film achieves a compelling momentum. Each scene is done in a single continuous shot; some go on for several minutes, others are just one quick, evocative image. Throughout there is no camera movement, except for a series of brief, formally identical tracking shots which punctuate the film. Even then, the camera maintains an even distance as it pulls straight ahead of two people walking in parallel, further emphasizing the flat space which confines them.
As the picture lulls you along with its extended use of dialogue, delivered in a flat manner by people who almost never look each other in the eye, suddenly a man will strike his girlfriend. And she will let him. He may recently have given her money in exchange for sex (the divisions between love and casual prostitution are blurry, and include both hetero- and homosexual varieties). A moment after the slap, their impassivity returns.
The bland surfaces (emotional, architectural, cinematic) and mundane conversations conceal, but barely contain, a violence waiting to erupt. Jorgos discovers this at the climax, when the "real Germans" beat him for bringing "difference" into their little world. But Katzelmacher is much more than a tract about the still-relevant issue of xenophobia. Since Fassbinder lets us uncover at least some of the reasons for that violence, we are not simply clicking our tongues in disgust at these slack "tough guys" and their "girls;" we are able to understand them. We see, more clearly than any of the characters, their inability to communicate, even as we feel their profound longing to connect.
Even at this early point in his career, Fassbinder is an artist who can transform such raw, painful, and deeply personal material into a visually arresting film, which is at once fiercely unsentimental and tender.
11 of 13 people found the following review helpful
Meditative, revelatory, early Fassbinder Oct. 8 2002
By Amazon Customer - Published on Amazon.com
Format: DVD
RW Fassbinder's second feature won't be a hot rental at Blockbuster anytime soon, but it is a rewarding film--meditative, revelatory, KATZELMACHER unfolds without urgency but envelops the audience in its characters' anomie (angst?) in 1969 Deutschland. Exploring the dead-end lives of working class stiffs (who don't seem to do much work), the story concerns the upheaval caused by the arrival of a Greek worker (played by Fassbinder) to their staid neighborhood. DVD quality is excellent, part of Wellspring's gorgeous RWF Foundation-sponsored reissues, considering the 16mm B&W source material. Hans Hirschmuller, so memorable as the title character in THE MERCHANT OF FOUR SEASONS (also on Wellspring DVD with commentary by Wim Wenders), shows much of his early promise in this film. Highly recommended to Fassbinder fans, New German Cinema fans, indie cineastes, students of film, gastarbeiters and Harry Baer lovers. Keep an eye out for THE BITTER TEARS OF PETRA VON KANT, THE NIKLASHAUSEN JOURNEY, RIO DAS MORTES, MARTHA, WHY DOES HERR R RUN AMOK and IN A YEAR OF 13 MOONS, all coming soon to DVD from Wellspring and Fantoma (who put out the excellent WHITY and PIONEERS OF INGOLSTADT).
great fassbinder movies Sept. 9 2013
By george - Published on Amazon.com
Format: VHS Tape Verified Purchase
very glad to get this Fassbinder movie in very good condition & at a good price too!I paln on lookin for more by this director.
1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
money sex money work money love money friendship money March 17 2005
By hume - Published on Amazon.com
Format: DVD
our katzelmacher doesn't enter the movie till relatively near the end. until that point, we are shown our subjects interacting in a sort of marxist pattern of power and money. what is the relationship between sex and money, and what do we accept as normal (a husband supporting his wife in return for sex) and what do we revile (a woman charging money for sex) and why do we draw these lines? from there, enter katzelmacher, a gastarbeiter, who the subjects come to hate and hurt. in the end, however, they accept this gastarbeiter, because he is giving the country money. again, we have the relationship between money and acceptance, who do we accept and why do we accept them, etc. this is all done in a fassbinder sort of way, that is, long camera shots all meant to make you nervous, but which comes of as annoying and snobby. my main gripe with this movie, as with all the fassbinder i've seen, is that it is extremely heavy-handed. as to anti-german sentimism, i would agree that there is a bit. while one can argue that fassbinder's movie is universal, and so that he is criticizing all societies and their views on money and sex and money and workers, the particular examples used in this movie are so specifically German, that it is impossible to not localize his criticism. all in all, i give it three stars: snobby, heavy-handed, german-hating, yes, but a good idea underneath it all.
0 of 13 people found the following review helpful
Offensive Jan. 15 2005
By David Freydkin - Published on Amazon.com
Format: DVD
I thought this movie was good in that it showed what causes violence from one to another, general dissatisfaction with one's own life and the feeling of inadequacy, as shown by both the men and the women in the film.

However, as many of Fassbinder's movies, this movie was biased against Germans. Fassbinder, my opinion, was a racist and anti-semitic man. The movie Katzelmacher, for instance, concludes with Jorgos telling the German woman that Germans are cold and therefore bad and that Greeks are warm and loving and, hence, good. I find that very racist.

Also, in Katzelmacher and other movies (ie. Ali: Fear eats the Soul), Fassbinder portrays Germans as being especially racist. I grew up in Germany, and have met people from all over. The Germans are no more racist than anyone else. Minorities and foreigners experience prejudice everywhere in the world.

Fassbinder seems to think that the way to fight racism is by being racist.


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