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Beware of a Holy Whore

Director: Rainer-Werner Fassbinder

W. Germany| 1971. English subtitles. Colour. 103 mins.


A German film crew sits around an old hotel at a Spanish seaside resort, arguing, drinking and making love as they await the arrival of their director. Inspired by the experience of making Whity (1970), Holy Whore is a brutally honest portrayal of the emotional turmoil that can surround a film shoot. Fassbinder doesn’t spare himself in this savage piece of self-criticism, since the film director (played by Lou Castel) is shown as a petulant manipulator given to fits of screaming. This bluntly autobiographical film deals with the interaction of a group whose tensions and conflicts constantly lead them to the brink of chaos. The only interest they have in each other is sexual. They pass the time with empty sex and hollow phrases as they wait for the true fulfilment of life: the shooting of the film, an encounter with the ‘holy whore’ of cinema.

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