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Rainer Werner Fassbinder is one of the most prominent and important authors of post-war European cinema. Thomas Elsaesser is the first to write a thoroughly analytical study of his work. He stresses the importance of a closer understanding of Fassbinder's career through a re-reading of his films as textual entities. Approaching the work from different thematic and analytical perspectives, Elsaesser offers both an overview and a number of detailed readings of crucial films, while also providing a European context for Fassbinder's own coming to terms with fascism.
Introduction: A Work Upstaged by Life?
1. Fassbinder Representing Germany
2. From Vicious Circles to Double Binds: Impossible Demands in the Field of Vision
3. Murder, Merger, Suicide: The Politics of Despair
4. The BRD Trilogy, or: History, The Love Story? The Marriage of Maria Braun, Lola, and Veronika Voss
5. Fassbinder, Reflections of Fascism and the European Cinema
6. ...wie einst? Lili Marleen
7. Frankfurt, Germans, and Jews: The City, Garbage and Death
8. Beyond 'Schuld' and 'Schulden': In a Year of Thirteen Moons
9. Franz Biberkopf's/ex-changes: Berlin Alexanderplatz
10. Historicising the Subject
Appendix One: A Commented Filmography: The House that Rainer Built
Appendix Two: Fassbinder's Germany: 1945-1982, a chronology
Appendix Three: Bibliography