Close Up

10 November 2019: In a Year of 13 Moons

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In a Year of 13 Moons
Rainer Werner Fassbinder, 1978, 124 min
German with English subtitles

"Fassbinder regular Volker Spengler here takes his star turn as a transsexual beset by doubts about his sex-change operation, only the most profound in a lifetime of futile gestures toward love. Humiliated by strangers and abandoned by her lover, Elvira née Erwin is befriended by a sweet-natured streetwalker (Ingrid Caven) and together they revisit the people and places of Elvira’s previous life, from the convent where nuns recognize in her the boy who could not be put up for adoption, to a slaughterhouse where death now seems like that thing which gives life, even a cow’s life, meaning. This tour of her past imperceptibly turns into a tour of the last days of Elvira’s life, becoming increasingly bizarre with the sad hilarity only dreams provoke. Critic Carlos Clarens called this Fassbinder’s Juliet of the Spirits, and like Fellini, Fassbinder never loses his balance; it is as if he owes delicacy and even decorum to his hero’s lost honor. The film is dedicated to a lover who committed suicide in 1978." – Judy Bloch


Part of our season on Rainer Werner Fassbinder

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