Rainer Werner Fassbinder Richard Combs - Essay

Richard Combs

(Contemporary Literary Criticism)

Since Fassbinder's message about oppression, and its social and emotional forms, was intended for a mass audience and not a coterie of cinephiles, his self-ordained task was to 'create' that audience by recreating the communal style of the greatest popular cinema in history. Although Chinese Roulette (1976) still relates to that tradition—it is a melodramatic chamber piece, in which the romantic triangles of four haut bourgeois characters tensely overlap—it pointedly introduces 'foreign' elements into Fassbinder's usual stock company of players, and its political references (the Nazi past, contemporary political terrorism) supply not so much a message as teasing clues to the games its people play....

(The entire section is 696 words.)