Can a small group of people start a proletarian revolution, asks the "Black Monk" in a leather jacket. The medieval shepherd, Hans Boehm, claims to have been called by the Virgin Mary to ... See full summary »
Can a small group of people start a proletarian revolution, asks the "Black Monk" in a leather jacket. The medieval shepherd, Hans Boehm, claims to have been called by the Virgin Mary to create a revolt against the church and the landowners. The "Black Monk" suggests that he would have more success if he dressed up Johanna and had her appear as the Virgin Mary. Written by
Whoever knows Fassbinder's movies well enough will not forgot that famous scene in "Niklashauser Fart" (1970), where Fassbinder, the black monk and intellectual adviser who stands behind Hans Böhm, says: "Who has the possibility to eat well - eat well. Whoever has the possibility to live in a good house - live in a good house. Whoever has the possibility to clothe himself well - should clothe himself well" - and twinkles in the camera. He did that later only once more - at the end of "Kamikaze", his last appearance (1982). As a matter of fact, Hans Böhm was not a messiah, this is a misunderstanding common in connection with this movie, but a very early predecessor of social revolution which would only become virulent almost 400 years later. However, unfortunately, he was neither a "Hauptlehrer Hofer" (cf. Peter Lilienthal's film) who was restricting himself to facts in the strong belief to be able to persuade people without seducing them. So, Boehm, who was a simple-minded pastor, told the farmers that the Virgin Mary appears to him and tells him his ideas. Hence the conflict with the church could not have been better prepared, and Böhm was soon burned at stake as any ordinary self-appointed prophet. Fassbinder's very early movie lives from the absolutely unpretentious way of how he does not differentiate between different customs and costumes of four centuries. Fassbinder himself appears in his trade-mark leather-jacket, Böhm looks like a hippie, otherwise beautiful Hanna like Twiggy, and the henchman like Robber Hotzenplotz. A highlight is Margit Carstensen, although in this movie, she seems to copy the steely acting of Catherine Hepburn. All in all, we hear here, via opera, still a stronger influence of Werner Schroeter (as we do, e.g. in the "Holy Whore"), also a little bit of Jean-Marie Straub and Rohmer (although the intellectual mono- and dialogs during the long walks through the fields are reflections on intellectual topics and not merely commentaries of the movie itself). Fassbinder always loved to quote, but he also remained faithful to his own topics and ideas. And so we are not astonished that he resumed the topic of the Niklashauser Fart much later in "Mutter Küsters Fahrt Zum Himmel" and, especially, in "Die Dritte Generation".
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