Beautiful, detached, laconic, consumptive Lily Brest is a streetwalker with few clients. She loves her idle boyfriend Raoul who gambles away what little she earns. The town's power broker, ... See full summary »
Beautiful, detached, laconic, consumptive Lily Brest is a streetwalker with few clients. She loves her idle boyfriend Raoul who gambles away what little she earns. The town's power broker, called the rich Jew, discovers she is a good listener, so she's soon busy. Raoul imagines grotesque sex scenes between Lily and the Jew; he leaves her for a man. Her parents, a bitter Fascist who is a cabaret singer in drag and her wheelchair-bound mother, offer no refuge. Even though all have a philosophical bent, the other whores reject Lily because she tolerates everyone, including men. She tires of her lonely life and looks for a way out. Even that act serves the local corrupt powers. Written by
"Schatten der Engel" or "Shadow of Angels" (1976) is based on the theater play "Der Müll, die Stadt und der Tod"/"The Garbage, the City, and the Death" (1975) by Rainer Werner Fassbinder which himself had based his play on the novel "Die Erde ist unbewohnbar wie der Mond"/"The Earth is Inhabitable like the Moon" (1973) by Gerhard Zwerenz. Since Fassbinder, a theater director at that time besides making up to ten movies per year for cinema and television, was very much involved in the anti-fascist aggressions against him, he let a friend of his, the late Swiss film and opera director Daniel Schmid, direct this movie. However, Fassbinder took over the male main role at the side of his former wife, Ingrid Caven, who played Lily Brest (anticipating, without doubt, the character of Querelle de Brest in Fassbinder's last movie, Querelle, 1982).
For connoisseurs of Fassbinder's film-universe, you will find in the "Shadow of Angels" an ingenious performance by Adrian Hoven (1922-1981) as the transvestite father of Lily Brest and an ex-Nazi. Hoven actually plays the Burg-Theater actress Annemarie Düringer who plays his wife, in the background. His terrific play has the more to be mentioned since Hoven, although present in practically all Fassbinder movies, had hardly ever gotten a big role after his great time in the Austrian "heimatfilms" (sentimental films) of the 50ies and 6oies was over.
Thus, it is really hard to believe that this movie, which had been in competition for the Golden Palm at Cannes in 1976, and which had been made with such a crew of prominent people, has never been released on international DVD. However, from the 66 movies, counted by Fassbinder friend and professor of film science Christian Braad Thomsen, that Fassbinder had made in his short life, about a quarter is still not released on DVD, a few of them have even never been released at all. Amongst them are such masterpieces like "Game Runway", "World on Wire", "LIke a Bird on a Wire", "Women in New York", "Theater in Trance", etc.
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