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Rainer Werner Fassbinder
A wealthy couple, with a daughter Angela, a young teen who walks with crutches, tells each other they are off for the weekend on business (he to Oslo, she to Milan). Actually, both are meeting their lovers, and both go to the family's county home, Traunitz castle. Surprising each other, there's sophisticated laughter; they decide to continue as planned. Dinner, however, is interrupted by the arrival of Angela and her mute attendant, also named Traunitz. The next day, the child initiates a game of "Chinese roulette," in which one team tries to guess which of them the other team is thinking of by asking questions. The game has an edge of cruelty and the results are explosive. Written by
has a couple of noteworthy moments, but mostly boring, symbolic crap
I wasn't sure what I would get with Chinese Roulette, a little-known film from RW Fassbinder featuring one of the stars of the Nouvelle vague, Anna Karina, but I wasn't expecting this. I'm reminded somewhat of what a friend of mine says of Michael Haneke's movies (while I don't entirely agree, I can see his point): "Nothing happens - nothing happens - nothing happens - nothing happens - *something* happens- nothing happens, end of movie". While things do happen in Chinese Roulette- a film about two couples who come to someone's home for a weekend and one of the couple's children, a crippled young girl who became that way (I guess it's insinuated) from something her parents did has some kind of effect on the group of people in the house to do what she says leading up to a climactic mind-f*** of a 'what-if' game- they're not of much consequence, at all.
I didn't care about a single character in the film (maybe the pretentious writer for a moment, maybe), not a single one, and that's part of the key to Fassbinder's problem. It's not direction, since that's actually something a strong suit for him, maybe too strong in some scenes where he pushes the 'intense-camera-zoom' too far. It's just the overall feel and mood and the performances; particularly disappointing is Karina, who is not just a great star of her time with her muse/ex-husband Godard but an underrated actress, who just spends a lot of time moving her eyes about thinking what's going on around her is interesting. Only the climactic game holds any interest- if only clinically- and it really only picks up (the aforementioned "something") with the final question.
Or, in another word, one that is too hard for some Fassbinder die-hards to mutter: boring, metaphorical clap-trap.
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