Franz "Fox" Biberkopf is a working-class guy, at loose ends when his lover is arrested and the police shutter their carnival booth. In need of cash for his weekly lottery purchase, Fox lets... See full summary »
Prologue: The murderer "Boss" Huller - after having spent ten years in prison - breaks his silence to tell the warden his story. "Boss", a former trapeze artist, and his wife own a cheap ... See full summary »
Ewald André Dupont
Lya De Putti
Karrer plods his way through life in quiet desperation. His environment is drab and rainy and muddy. Eaten up with solitude, his hopelessness would be incurable but for the existence of the... See full summary »
Péter Breznyik Berg
Louis Mahe is a tobacco planter at Reunion Island. He is waiting for Julie Roussel to marry her. He only knows her by mail. The woman that comes does not like the picture he got, but he ... See full summary »
Lou is a small time gangster, who thinks he used to be something big. He meets up with a younger girl, Sally, who is learning to be a croupier. Her husband turns up with drugs he has stolen... See full summary »
Set in 1960, the film centres on the young, boyishly handsome Yuddy, who learns from the drunken ex-prostitute who raised him that she is not his real mother. Hoping to hold onto him, she ... See full summary »
Franz "Fox" Biberkopf is a working-class guy, at loose ends when his lover is arrested and the police shutter their carnival booth. In need of cash for his weekly lottery purchase, Fox lets himself be picked up by an elegant older man named Max. At Max's, he meets two younger gay men who have expensive tastes and images to uphold. The next day, Fox wins 500,000 marks in the lottery, and Max's friends suddenly become Fox's friends, especially Eugen, the heir to a bookbinding firm that's short of cash. Eugen's polish beguiles Fox, and the fleecing begins. Written by
A Tale of Deceit, Power, and Victimization: Fassbinder at his Best!
Rainer Werner Fassbinder has long been honored as the 'bad boy' in European cinema, a writer/director/actor who repeatedly has taken chances and because of his brutal honesty has succeeded in making a stream of important films. FOX AND HIS FRIENDS dates back to 1975 and remains one of Fassbinder's most successful films. As with all of his films, Fassbinder deals with the homosexual subculture in Germany but his main message goes far beyond the characters he creates: the examination of how people manipulate people for personal gain and the destruction that produces is a recurring problem and one that this film certainly explores.
'Fox' - a nickname of Franz Bieberkopf - (acted with consummate skill by Fassbinder himself) is a lower class gay carny kid whose lover is arrested, leaving the carnival to collapse and leaving Fox without support. Enter handsome Max (Karlheinz Böhm), a wealthy antiques dealer, who picks up Fox, helps him buy the requisite 'lottery ticket' on which Fox bases his hopes for financial survival (!) via manipulative means, and takes him home, introducing Fox to his gay friends who regard Fox as scum but show obvious physical attraction to his rawness. Surprisingly Fox wins the lottery and suddenly has 500,000 DMs and with his new money, Max's friends abruptly see a target for obtaining that money. One of the friends named Eugen (Peter Chatel) takes Fox in as a lover and talks him into investing in Eugen's family business of bookbinding. Eugen's father Wolf (Adrian Hoven) and mother (Ulla Jacobsson) tolerate their son's life with a low class wretch, ridiculing his manners and lack of culture and education, but willingly take his money to salvage their business.
With a lover and a business and a role model to make him suave, Fox dons fancy clothes, banters with his old friends in a tawdry club, and makes the pretenses that at last he is secure and happy. But in time Fox is blamed for problems at the business and when his funds have been depleted on expensive vacations and apartments by the smarmy self-centered Eugen, Fox realizes that now without money he has no 'fancy friends', no lover, no security and his life becomes unbearable: the ending to the film is a tragedy beyond description.
Some would say the film is mannered in ways that depict stereotypes of the gay world (effeminate men, transvestites, opportunists, hustlers, etc), but Fassbinder is completely honest in his attempt to recreate a subculture of a specific time in Germany. And the characters are well written and well acted allowing us to look at Fassbinder's greater picture of depravity between social class antipathies. In many ways this is a difficult film to watch, but Fassbinder wisely places the main character whom he enacts in a place where his foibles and lack of higher class knowledge can be at once very humorous as well as pitiable. FOX AND HIS FRIENDS has some minor flaws but it has already become a classic in gay cinema repertoire. In German with English subtitles. Grady Harp
15 of 18 people found this review helpful.
Was this review helpful to you?