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Early Fassbinder
SPECIFICATIONS
  • 1.33:1 Standard
  • 1.78:1 Anamorphic Widescreen
  • German Dolby Digital 1.0 Mono
  • English subtitles
  • 5 Discs
FEATURES
  • Includes the films: Love Is Colder Than Death, Katzelmacher, Gods of the Plague, The American Soldier, and Beware of a Holy Whore

Early Fassbinder


Reviewed by: Chris Galloway

Directed By: Rainer Werner Fassbinder
2013 | 453 Minutes | Licensor: Rainer Werner Fassbinder Foundation

Release Information
DVD | MSRP: $69.95 | Series: Eclipse from the Criterion Collection | Edition: #29
RLJ Entertainment

Release Date: August 27, 2013
Review Date: August 25, 2013

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SYNOPSIS

From the very beginning of his incandescent career, the New German Cinema enfant terrible Rainer Werner Fassbinder refused to play by the rules. His politically charged, experimental first films, made at an astonishingly rapid rate between 1969 and 1971, were influenced by the work of the antiteater, an avant-garde stage troupe that he had helped found in Munich. Collected here are five of those fascinating and confrontational works; whether a self-conscious meditation on American crime movies, a scathing indictment of xenophobia in contemporary Germany, or an off-the-wall look at the dysfunctional relationships on film sets, each is a startling glimpse into the mind of a twentysomething man who would become one of cinema's most madly prolific artists.

Discuss the film and DVD here   


PICTURE

Criterionís 39th Eclipse release brings 5 Early Fassbinder films to DVD. Presented across five single-layer discs are Love is Colder Than Death, Katzelmacher, Gods of the Plague, The American Soldier, and Beware of a Holy Whore. Love is Colder Than Death is the sole widescreen title, presented in the aspect ratio of 1.78:1 and enhanced for widescreen televisions. The remaining four films are all presented in 1.33:1 standard.

All told all of these transfers look stunning and itís hard to find much of fault with them, other than the fact they would look incredible in high-definition and the lack of Blu-ray releases is really a shame. All of the transfers themselves are very solid, delivering sharp and crisp images that look fairly filmic. Love has more noticeable compression noise and some halos around objects but itís otherwise clean. Film grain is present in all of the films, heaviest in Katzelmacher, but itís actually rendered fairly well. Contrast is fine, though there are instances in all of the films where the image looks to have been boosted, but blacks levels look fairly inky in the black and white films.

The one lone colour film, Beware of a Holy Whore, also delivers a stunning look. Colours are bright with strong saturation, though black levels crush out a lot of the detail. Like the others it also delivers crisp image, though compression noise is a little more noticeable.

The source prints have all been restored rather extensively and marks and debris are minimal along with some tram lines and frame jumping. Past this all of the films look very good, and even upscaled theyíre impressive. Still itís a shame that these didnít see a high-definition release as I think theyíd all be knock-outs.

8/10

All DVD screen captures are presented in their original size from the source disc. Images have been compressed slightly to conserve space. While they are not exact representations they should offer a general idea of overall video quality.

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Love is Colder Than Death

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Love is Colder Than Death

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Love is Colder Than Death

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Love is Colder Than Death

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Love is Colder Than Death

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Katzelmacher

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Katzelmacher

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Katzelmacher

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Katzelmacher

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Katzelmacher

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Gods of the Plague

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Gods of the Plague

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Gods of the Plague

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Gods of the Plague

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Gods of the Plague

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The American Soldier

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The American Soldier

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The American Soldier

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The American Soldier

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The American Soldier

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Beware of a Holy Whore

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Beware of a Holy Whore

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Beware of a Holy Whore

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Beware of a Holy Whore

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Beware of a Holy Whore

AUDIO

All five films present rather general Dolby Digital 1.0 mono tracks. Though there are admittedly slight variations between them because of their low budget natures, in general theyíre all flat and tinny, lacking much of anything in the way of depth or range. Still, dialogue does sound clear and the tracks appear to be free of background noise.

6/10

SUPPLEMENTS

Like most Eclipse releases there are no supplements to be found other than liner notes from Michael Koresky, with an initial insert that covers Fassbinderís early career and first film.

1/10

CLOSING

I think many will be happy with the crisp transfers, though itís still a shame these titles didn't get high-definition releases. Still it comes with a high recommendation.




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