598 World on a Wire

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HelenLawson
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598 World on a Wire

#1 Post by HelenLawson » Tue Mar 03, 2009 12:40 am

World on a Wire

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World on a Wire is a gloriously paranoid, boundlessly inventive take on the future from German wunderkind Rainer Werner Fassbinder. With dashes of Stanley Kubrick, Kurt Vonnegut, and Philip K. Dick, as well as a flavor entirely his own, Fassbinder tells the noir-spiked tale of a reluctant action hero, Fred Stiller (Klaus Lowitsch), a cybernetics engineer who uncovers a massive corporate conspiracy. At risk? (Virtual) reality as we know it. Originally made for German television, this recently rediscovered, three-and-a-half-hour labyrinth is a satiric and surreal look at the weird world of tomorrow from one of cinema’s kinkiest geniuses.

Disc Features

- New high-definition digital restoration, with uncompressed monaural soundtrack on the Blu-ray edition
- Fassbinder’s “World on a Wire”: Looking Ahead to Today, a fifty-minute documentary about the making of the film by Juliane Lorenz
- New interview with German-film scholar Gerd Gemünden
- New English subtitles
- Trailer for the 2010 theatrical release
- PLUS: A booklet featuring an essay by film critic Ed Halter

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sir karl
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Re: Rainer Werner Fassbinder

#2 Post by sir karl » Tue Mar 03, 2009 10:34 am

HelenLawson wrote:According to the latest newsletter from The Fassbinder Foundation, World on a Wire is being remastered sometime within the next year. Exciting!
New Projects 2008 - 2010 World on a Wire: New Master

2010 will be marked by two jubilees: RWF's 65th birthday and Michael Ballhaus's 75th. This occasion gives rise to rediscover an early, by now largely forgotten work they completed together in 1973: the two-part science fiction film World on a Wire, realized for the German TV station WDR. The movie is based on US-writer Daniel F. Galouye's novel Simulacron (1964). He is unanimously viewed as the first person to describe "virtual reality," in which he bases his thrilling parable about our world with special emphasis on society and politics.

Even though seemingly "just" a TV-production, World on a Wire's significance for the history of German film and Rainer Werner Fassbinder's entire oeuvre is multifaceted and can hardly be overestimated. World on a Wire is one of the early works for the WDR and without doubt beside Berlin Alexanderplatz and Eight Hours Don't Make a Day among his most important works for TV.

Back in 1993, the WDR loaned RWFF the original reversal film. This enabled us to preserve the faded original material by producing a 35mm internegative directly from the 16mm original material. Meanwhile, we have acquired the novel rights and are able to explore the film in all medias, except for German TV. We have clarified other subsidiary rights and we have been able to address the financing of the digital master. We are optimistic that we can complete this project. We want to express our gratitude to these partners for their promise of financial aid and for their ongoing support and loyalty: The Museum of Modern Art, Carlotta Films, and the medienboard Berlin-Brandenburg.

We will share upcoming news regarding all further activities on our website.
Very exciting news! Hopefully Eight Hours Don't Make a Day will follow someday.

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Barmy
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Re: Rainer Werner Fassbinder

#3 Post by Barmy » Tue Mar 03, 2009 12:47 pm

Awesome. World is easily one of his most entertaining films. \:D/

There is still a lot of good TV work that remains unreleased.

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HelenLawson
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Re: Rainer Werner Fassbinder

#4 Post by HelenLawson » Fri Aug 28, 2009 9:56 pm

More information on the World on a Wire restoration. I can't wait for this release! I hope Criterion issues this, along with his other television productions (like Women in New York and Nora Helmer) When I asked Mulvaney about this, he ignored my question and instead confirmed the future release of Lili Marleen, although this was before the news of this restoration was announced.

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stereo
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Re: Rainer Werner Fassbinder

#5 Post by stereo » Sat Aug 29, 2009 10:59 am

HelenLawson wrote:More information on the World on a Wire restoration. I can't wait for this release! I hope Criterion issues this, along with his other television productions (like Women in New York and Nora Helmer)
An Eclipse set of Fassbinder TV would cause my brain to implode (in a good way). There's only boots of most of them out there and even many of those don't have Eng. subs.

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Tommaso
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Re: Rainer Werner Fassbinder

#6 Post by Tommaso » Wed Dec 23, 2009 6:10 am

"Welt am Draht" is coming on a 2-disc set from Arthaus. It's the new restoration, of course. Release date is February, 18. No subs, however.

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zedz
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Re: Rainer Werner Fassbinder

#7 Post by zedz » Wed Dec 23, 2009 2:18 pm

Tommaso wrote:"Welt am Draht" is coming on a 2-disc set from Arthaus. It's the new restoration, of course. Release date is February, 18. No subs, however.
Great news! No doubt subbed versions will follow (maybe even from Criterion - Fassbinder does The Matrix can't be that hard a sell).

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HelenLawson
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Re: Rainer Werner Fassbinder

#8 Post by HelenLawson » Thu Feb 11, 2010 3:28 pm

New information on the restoration just posted on the Fassbinder Foundation website. A US DVD release is in the works, but no mention of who the distributor might be. All the work has been done for them and Criterion needs more Fassbinder and science fiction in the collection, so it seems like a no-brainer.

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Jean-Luc Garbo
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Re: Rainer Werner Fassbinder

#9 Post by Jean-Luc Garbo » Fri Feb 12, 2010 3:27 pm

I bet that Criterion will get it! I wrote to them about it anyway.

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der_Artur
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Re: Rainer Werner Fassbinder

#10 Post by der_Artur » Fri Feb 19, 2010 11:22 am

Tommaso wrote:"Welt am Draht" is coming on a 2-disc set from Arthaus. It's the new restoration, of course. Release date is February, 18. No subs, however.
I posted some screenshots in the apropriate thread.

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Jean-Luc Garbo
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Re: Rainer Werner Fassbinder

#11 Post by Jean-Luc Garbo » Fri Feb 19, 2010 4:59 pm

Okay, CC wrote back to me about World on a Wire.
At this time, we do not have any plans to release "World on a Wire" but thank you for the suggestion.

Best,

JM
:(

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Matt
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Re: Rainer Werner Fassbinder

#12 Post by Matt » Fri Feb 19, 2010 5:03 pm

Well, someone's going to put it out. I was very happy with the quality of Fantoma's and Infinity Arthouse's Fassbinder releases.

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tavernier
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Re: Rainer Werner Fassbinder

#13 Post by tavernier » Wed Mar 17, 2010 1:23 pm

World on a Wire showing at MOMA in April.

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Jean-Luc Garbo
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Re: Rainer Werner Fassbinder

#14 Post by Jean-Luc Garbo » Thu Apr 15, 2010 5:39 pm

Hoberman reviews World on a Wire.

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jbeall
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World on a Wire (Fassbinder, 1973)

#15 Post by jbeall » Thu Apr 15, 2010 11:01 pm

Apologies if there's already a thread for this--I couldn't find one. I'm guessing it would go here because even though this appears to be the first cinematic release here, WoaW is from the 70s.

Has anybody seen this? Looks terribly interesting (and ripe for an eventual CC release...).

A.O. Scott's review
The film is also and unmistakably the work of its director, one of the most ferociously prolific and restlessly original artists German cinema has ever produced. Though Fassbinder, who completed at least 40 films before his death, at 37, in 1982, is impossible to pigeonhole, he is perhaps still best known in the United States for historical dramas like The Marriage of Maria Braun and Veronika Voss.

World on a Wire, while too slow and diffuse to count as a lost masterpiece, is valuable in expanding our sense of what Fassbinder could do and is also a source of much visual and intellectual pleasure in its own right.

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tojoed
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Re: World on a Wire (Fassbinder, 1973)

#16 Post by tojoed » Fri Apr 16, 2010 5:59 am

It's being released by Second Sight in June.

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R0lf
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Re: Rainer Werner Fassbinder

#17 Post by R0lf » Mon May 10, 2010 5:51 am

World On A Wire is being released with English subs on Region 2 DVD next week.

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Lemmy Caution
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Re: World on a Wire (Fassbinder, 1973)

#18 Post by Lemmy Caution » Wed Aug 18, 2010 12:49 pm

Part 1 of Fassbinder's sci-fi foray, World on a Wire is quite good. I always like his direct, theatrical style. He opens with some references to 2001 -- white plastic futuristic decor, space opera music -- to set the tone. Then there's a whole lot of Alphaville -- hosts of blank expressions held artificially long -- and early Godard. And sure enough Eddie Constantine even has a small role near the end of Part 2.

It's a very Matrixy premise, from way back in 1973, of a world of people, termed identity units, created artificially in a supercomputer as an experimental control group, with the goal of predicting future human behavior and learning what to avoid/promote. There is an element of Big Gov't social engineering, and then companies move in to try to learn future demand (Big Steel is the baddie here, which is a little dated). In other words, it's just like today's world, with all of us trying to become identity units for Google to track ... or somesuch.
The Thirteenth Floor (1999) is also based on the same novel "Simulacron 3" by Daniel F. Galouye.

Fassbinder uses lots of mirror shots to disorient and question the reality of identity and the nature of reality. With the camera often tracking over to mirrors, or starting with mirror images which only become apparent when the camera tracks a person's movement away from and out of a mirror. The room housing the supercomputer has a couple of fully mirrored walls, which gives it a sleek futuristic look, and acts as a visual metaphor for the layers of reality/unreality.

I especially liked seeing Fassbinder regulars pop up. El Hedi ben Salem plays a bodyguard/security agent; Barbara Valentin a sexy secretary/ corporate spy. This was originally done for German television, and Fassbinder uses some of these actors for his later TV opus Berlin Alexanderplatz. There is a weird sequence in World on a Wire, where Gottfried John's character takes over Gunter Lamprecht's body (which in BA terms is Reinhold taking over Franz Biberkopf, which has eerie resonance).

I was a bit underwhelmed with the extra: Fassbinder's World On A Wire: Looking Ahead To Today, but it did shed light on the casting. The fearless 27 year old Fassbinder used many older ex-stars for the project, an interesting decision to go retro to obtain a slightly futuristic feel -- similar to Godard's choice of Eddie Constantine in Alphaville. Fassbinder wants something to be a little off and odd about the characters, and so he uses past-their-prime actors, has them stare blankly unnaturally long, and dresses them up in costumes, distinctly retro, which they wear like costumes. This style creates a unique look and feel to the whole proceedings, distinctly off and abnormal, accordant with the artificial reality theme.
Last edited by Lemmy Caution on Fri Aug 20, 2010 12:13 am, edited 2 times in total.

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Lemmy Caution
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Re: World on a Wire (Fassbinder, 1973)

#19 Post by Lemmy Caution » Wed Aug 18, 2010 12:52 pm

The second half of World on a Wire is a little weaker. Part 2 becomes a paranoid thriller, as Fassbinder mostly focuses on the psychological aspects and the chase/hunt for the man who knows too much about the different levels of reality.
And actually that's a joke Fassbinder tosses in. The focus is on a lone man wrongfully accused and caught up in a vast conspiracy. Less than one minute after I said to myself, Gee, this is becoming rather Hitchcockian, Fassbinder has a character refer to another's death by saying, "poor Franz Holm, a man who knew too much." Wink.

Part 2 is similar to such political/corporate conspiracy films as Parallax View, but now I see that Wire came out the year before Parallax. And Soylent Green came out just a few months earlier. Interesting.
Altogether World on a Wire is nearly 3' 20", and it probably could have used a bit of trimming and tightening in the second half. But this is really an interesting addition to the Fassbinder legacy. Quite a treat for Fassbinder fans.

I was wondering if anybody knows anything about Mascha Rabben?
She plays one of the key female roles, and has a delicate vulnerable beauty, something akin to a slightly glammed-up Mia Farrow. Seems she had a short 4 year acting career in the early 70's, and only made one more television production after Wire. Her presence works so well in World on a Wire, I was surprised that she didn't go on to become a Fassbinder regular.

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R0lf
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Re: World on a Wire (Fassbinder, 1973)

#20 Post by R0lf » Thu Aug 19, 2010 9:22 pm

Lemmy Caution wrote:This style creates a unique look and feel to the whole proceedings, distinctly off and slightly phony, accordant with the artificial reality theme.
Its also somewhat heightened by how technically well made it is with the roving camera and repeated single take 360 degree (1800 degree?) shots.

Angela
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Re: World on a Wire (Fassbinder, 1973)

#21 Post by Angela » Sun Aug 22, 2010 2:52 am

Lemmy Caution wrote:I was wondering if anybody knows anything about Mascha Rabben?
She went to live in Bhagwan Shree Rajneesh's ashram in Poona after her last film and stayed in that commune for about a decade, working as a therapist. After that she worked as a writer, primarily translating esoteric books into German.

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FerdinandGriffon
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Re: World on a Wire (Fassbinder, 1973)

#22 Post by FerdinandGriffon » Sun Aug 22, 2010 2:56 am

He's not kidding. I checked.

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Lemmy Caution
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Re: World on a Wire (Fassbinder, 1973)

#23 Post by Lemmy Caution » Sun Aug 22, 2010 10:30 am

R0lf, good point how the very noticeable, creative camera movements are disorienting and add to the sense of an artificial reality -- which is basically a definition of cinema itself. The many mirrors are also part of this shifting perspective.
Angela wrote:
Lemmy Caution wrote:I was wondering if anybody knows anything about Mascha Rabben?
She went to live in Bhagwan Shree Rajneesh's ashram in Poona after her last film and stayed in that commune for about a decade, working as a therapist. After that she worked as a writer, primarily translating esoteric books into German.
So her acting career was swallowed up by the counter-culture.
Thanks for that, very interesting.

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colinr0380
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Re: World on a Wire (Fassbinder, 1973)

#24 Post by colinr0380 » Sun Aug 22, 2010 12:03 pm

The camera movements are a regular Fassbinder motif often for the purpose of taking us inside a character's psychology, emphasising the smallest moments in a more heightened manner. In that sense the artificial reality in this production is just a more accessible example of its use. For example take this shot from Martha.

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R0lf
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Re: World on a Wire (Fassbinder, 1973)

#25 Post by R0lf » Mon Aug 23, 2010 9:05 am

colinr0380 wrote:The camera movements are a regular Fassbinder motif often for the purpose of taking us inside a character's psychology, emphasising the smallest moments in a more heightened manner. In that sense the artificial reality in this production is just a more accessible example of its use. For example take this shot from Martha.
I particularly loved in Beware of a Holy Whore when the director talks about the ambitious single take they are going to film the next day which is then followed by them the next day preparing the shot. The preparation is then shot in a single five minute take.

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