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Love is Colder Than Death (1969)
"Liebe ist kälter als der Tod" (original title)

6.8
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Ratings: 6.8/10 from 1,645 users  
Reviews: 9 user | 25 critic

Unusual gangster story, in which a small-time pimp Franz, who is torn between his mistress and Bruno the gangster sent after him by the syndicate that he has refused to join. Things are ... See full summary »

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Title: Love is Colder Than Death (1969)

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
...
Bruno
...
Johanna
Katrin Schaake ...
Dame im Zug
Liz Söllner ...
Zeitungsverkäuferin
Gisela Otto ...
Prostituierte
Ursula Strätz ...
Prostituierte
Monika Nüchtern ...
Kellnerin beim Türken (as Monika Stadler)
Hans Hirschmüller ...
Peter
Les Olvides ...
Georges
Peer Raben ...
Jürgen (as Wil Rabenbauer)
Howard Gaines ...
Raoul
Peter Moland ...
Leiter des Syndikatsverhörs
Kurt Raab ...
Aufsichtsperson im Kaufhaus
Peter Berling ...
Illegaler Waffenhändler
Anastassios Karalas ...
Türke
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Storyline

Unusual gangster story, in which a small-time pimp Franz, who is torn between his mistress and Bruno the gangster sent after him by the syndicate that he has refused to join. Things are turned on their head when Franz and Bruno become friends, to the point that they even share Franz's girlfriend Joanna. But Joanna soon becomes bored of Bruno, and when he plots a bank robbery, she reports it to the police before Bruno's scheme to kill her can succeed. Bruno is shot dead by the police, but the lovers manage to escape. Written by L.H. Wong <as9401k56@ntuvax.ntu.ac.sg>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

Eine knallharte Geschichte vom Leben, vom Lieben und vom Sterben

Genres:

Comedy | Crime

Certificate:

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Details

Country:

Language:

Release Date:

16 January 1970 (West Germany)  »

Also Known As:

El amor es más frío que la muerte  »

Box Office

Budget:

DEM 95,000 (estimated)
 »

Company Credits

Production Co:

 »
Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

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Did You Know?

Trivia

This movie was initially poorly received and booed at the 19th Berlin International Film Festival in 1969. See more »

Crazy Credits

Für Claude Chabrol, Eric Rohmer, Jean-Marie Straub, Linio und Cuncho See more »

Connections

References Psycho (1960) See more »

Soundtracks

Der Rosenkavalier
By Richard Strauss
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User Reviews

 
Fassbinder's stark debut examines nihilist criminals
30 June 2009 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

R.W. Fassbinder's debut feature Love is Colder Than Death was shot on a very limited budget and it shows. For the most part Fassbinder seems to have made the lack of budget work for him rather than against him however. Faced with a lack of funds, Fassbinder apparently decided to make this film as austere as possible. The film is shot in black and white but it uses less blacks and greys than any other film I can think of; the use of white (especially in backgrounds) adds to the film's stark tone as does the lack of camera movement. I've never seen a film in the crime genre that utilizes long takes and the stationary camera the way this one does.

In general I don't like crime movies that focus solely on the criminals but I found this one fascinating because these people didn't seem to be acting out of the usual petty motivations; rather, each of the three main characters seemed to be harboring a hatred for mankind. This is expressed in the contempt they show when they steal some trivial items in a store; rather than quietly pocket these things they choose to go to elaborate means to distract the shopkeepers and steal things right in front of them. It's not enough to take something from someone else: they also have to prove their superiority while making their victim into a fool. I found their misanthropy horrifyingly fascinating and that alone sets this film apart from other, similar films.

This film has been compared to the work of Jean Luc Godard and with good reason: these characters reminded me of the ones in films like Breathless and Pierrot Le Fou. Still, the characters in Love is Colder than Death are fundamentally different from the ones in those films because Godard's characters come across as lazy and selfish people who can't fit in while Fassbinder's characters come across as more ideologically motivated nihilist misanthropes.

The film's Spartan aesthetic is used to accentuate the characters' cynical attitudes in at least a couple of ways. The characters are often seen in front of structures so white they resemble the void: thus the exterior of the places they inhabit reflects the emptiness felt by these people who have no purpose or emotion. Another nice touch is the lack of visual representation of the gunshot wounds. At first it seemed like this lack could be entirely explained by budgetary concerns but on further reflection that's just silly: Fassbinder didn't have to show the bodies after they were shot but he usually did because he had a purpose in doing so. The gunshots seem to have had no effect because the shooters have no empathy for their victims, they care so little about them that the wounds don't even register with them.


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