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 ... See full summary »
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Rainer Werner Fassbinder
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Rainer Werner Fassbinder
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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
"Chinese Roulette", directed by R.W. Fassbinder (1976), is kind of a minimalist work, and, as it turns out, the quite right surrounding for a very special form of social terrorism as executed by a child.
Also simple is the structure of the characters - and the more impressive, when you see during the movie which Eigen-dynamics it discloses: Gerhard Christ and his wife Ariane have a marriage that is founded on money. He has a girlfriend - the Parisian Irene, she has a boyfriend - the husband's collaborator Kolbe. But these are not the only couples in the movie: There is also mother Kast and son, Gabriel. And then there is an informal couple, Gerhard and Arianes daughter Angela and her nurse Traunitz. (Watch the names: Christ, Ariane vs. Irene, Gabriel, Angela. Who is the devil? The arch-angel Gabriel's mother or daughter Angela "the angel"?).
Since everybody lied on everybody telling one another that they are going to Oslo, Milano and to the Zoo, they all meet quite unexpectedly in the family-castle. Now, everybody is unable to have his privacy with his respective boy- and girlfriend. So, one drinks and is bored until the handicapped daughter Angela desires to play "Chinese Roulette" (a play that has been invented by R.W. Fassbinder as a verbal analogy to Russian Roulette). Fassbinder said concerning this movie in an interview in my translation: "I think that relationships between humans are largely defined by conflicts. If I sit at my desk and just write something down without reflecting much, then there will probably be written more about conflicts than about attentions between humans".
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