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QUERELLE

Director: RAINER WERNER FASSBINDER

108 minutes| West Germany-France| 1982| Colour| 35mm


Fassbinder’s last film, which he considered his most important work, is a lurid take on Genet’s Querelle de Brest. Perhaps a perfect visual depiction of the director’s own state shortly before his death, the film hovers in a sexually charged twilight delirium fuelled by the sleeping tablets and cocaine that would shortly after filming stop Fassbinder’s heart. While Jeanne Moreau reminds us repeatedly that ‘each man kills the thing he loves’, handsome hustler, sailor, thief, and murderer Brad Davis moves slowly through a homoerotic world where everyone is insatiably attracted to everyone else around them, and inexplicably drawn to that which will destroy them. The film attracted major controversy on its release for everything from its oversize phallic sets to its frank depictions of gay sex to the deadpan acting style. But neither Fassbinder nor Genet ever saw the final film; the director due to his death at the age of 37, the writer, he claims, because smoking is not permitted in cinemas.

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