I have never understood the mystique surrounding Rainer Werner Fassbinder. This writer/director is adored by many, though after seeing at least a dozen of his films, I've found them to be extremely uneven--and sometimes very bad. Some, like "Mother Küsters Goes to Heaven" and "Ali: Fear Eats the Soul" are extremely compelling despite their incredibly low budgets, but others are just dull, bloated and self-indulgent and the average viewer wouldn't even bother with them. The best examples are "Querelle" and "The Bitter Tears of Petra von Kant"--films that film snobs sometimes embrace and insist the public just 'doesn't get it'. All I know is that most of his film just look cheap and I can't think of a single film maker whose films vary in quality like his.
"Pioneers in Ingolstadt" looks like a film made by an amateur film maker and his friends--and that just might be what this is. Any attempt to present a believable story is apparently irrelevant and the costumes looked as if they were just whatever Fassbinder could scrounge. So, while the film is apparently set around 1971 (judging by hair styles, mini skirts, and the look of the town), the soldiers wear ill-fitting, wrinkled and, in some cases, Nazi uniforms!!! Now if it's set in the Nazi era, it's even stranger as one of the soldiers is a black man!! All I know is that some of the soldier's hats have swastikas on them!!! It's as if the film makers just didn't care. And why should Fassbinder get a pass on this because he made 'art films'?! If Spielberg or John Ford were this sloppy, no one would forgive this.
As for the story, it manages to both be vulgar and incredibly dull. It's basically about a bunch of slutty women who want sex from the local soldiers. Alma is the most overtly slutty and likes to get paid for her services and the other women resent her--though they actually are jealous of her slutty ways. As for the men, they are all horny and have even less depth than the women. My guess is that this was a way for writer/director Fassbinder to somehow deconstruct the heterosexual life. This is the only interesting thing about the film--but not enough to make it worth seeing. Who knows, all I know is that the film was dull, terribly made, had some horrible camera work (see the scene at the 22 minute mark and you'll see what I mean). While not as obvious because the story is so awful, the acting is pretty much the quality of community theatre--emotionless, sloppy and not the least bit convincing. Not as bad as some of the Ed Wood films, but not much better. And, not that much better than some of the amateur films posted on YouTube.
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