Beware of a Holy Whore (Warnung vor einer heiligen Nutte)
Dir / Scr: Rainer Werner Fassbinder
Cast: Lou Castel, Eddie Constantine, Hanna Schygulla, Marquard Bohm, Rainer Werner Fassbinder,
Margarethe von Trotta
Pho: Michael Ballhaus
Eds: Thea Eymèsz, Franz Walsch (pseudonym of Fassbinder)
Music: Peer Raben
1971 / Colour / 35mm / German / Eng Subtitles / 104min
Rainer Werner Fassbinder, unlike the romantic Truffaut and the reflexive Godard, presents the filmmaking process as a torturous journey of despair. At once frontally brutal and wickedly funny, Beware of a Holy Whore is based on the director's own experience making Whity (1970) in Spain the year before.
The genius of Fassbinder is in his very self-indulgence, as he trains his camera on a group of filmmakers (played by the director's stock company, of course), holed up in a hotel on the Spanish coast during a production, bickering and sleeping with each other. The director, wearing Fassbinder's trademark leather jacket (Fassbinder doesn't play himself, but instead takes the role of the director's assistant!), is an angry, egoistical tyrant, not above sexing his cast and crew, but manipulating them in the process.
Watching Beware of a Holy Whore won't compel you to throw yourself onto a set, as watching Day for Night (1973) would. Neither would it make you contemplate the relationship between art and reality, as watching Contempt (1963) would. But it would make you understand the addictive nature of filmmaking, which, like the most potent of narcotics, lures you back no matter how much you resist.
Print courtesy of Werner Fassbinder Foundation.
||Cinema, Hong Kong Film Archive
*Post-screening talk with Yung Tsz-kwong
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