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Melancholic, Bitter and Depressive Reality of an Era
claudio_carvalho9 December 2007
In the 50's, in a rainy night in Germany, the sports reporter Robert Krohn (Hilmar Thate) offers his umbrella to the former successful UFA actress Veronika Voss (Rosel Zech) but he does not recognizes her. Later she calls him inviting for a drink, and he finds an unstable and decadent actress living in her past success. In a mixed sensation of love, empathy and curiosity, Robert has an affair with Veronika, and discloses a dangerous gang leaded by Dr. Marianne Katz (Annemarie Düringer) that addicts wealthy patients in morphine to get their fortune when they die.

"Die Sehnsucht der Veronika Voss" is a melancholic, bitter and depressive tale based on the reality of an era, and the association with "Sunset Boulevard" is immediate. The story is based on the last years of the German actress Sybille Schmitz (1909-1955), who died due to an overdose of sleeping pills. The performance of Rosel Zech is impressive, showing the glamour of a former star in the Nazi period and the depression of an addicted woman in the 50's. Hilmar Thate is also perfect in the role of a simple innocent man that faces a greedy world of pain and death. The magnificent cinematography in black and white, using perfectly light and shadows, is homage to the Golden Age of Hollywood. My vote is eight.

Title (Brazil): "O Desespero de Veronika Voss" ("The Despair of Veronika Voss")
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Third film in Fassbinder's trilogy
rosscinema18 November 2003
Warning: Spoilers
This is the third and last film in the trilogy that included "Marriage of Maria Braun" and "Lola". This also turned out to be one of the last films Rainer Werner Fassbinder made before his sudden suicide in 1982. Story takes place in 1955 where a former German movie star named Veronika Voss (Rosel Zech) is now a morphine addict and she gets her shots from a doctor who specializes in hooking wealthy clients on morphine to the point where they sign over their homes and belongings to pay for their shots. Veronika use to be a star in the 40's for the state run UFA studios that made Nazi approved dramas. Now ten years after the war and unable to further her acting career Veronika is dependent on Dr. Marianne Katz who lets her stay in a backroom of her office. One rainy night Veronika runs into Robert Krohn (Hilmar Thate) who is a simple sportswriter for a newspaper and he offers her his umbrella. She is taken in by his kindness and the next day she calls him for drinks. Robert lives with his girlfriend Henriette (Cornelia Froboess) and she is curious about what will happen between them. Robert gets involved with Veronika and learns of her addiction and he seems to think that he can help her. He meets her ex-husband Max Rehbein (Armin Mueller-Stahl) and he warns him that there is nothing he can do. Robert learns of Dr. Katz and what she has been doing but he cannot prove to the authorities of her intent.

This film was shot in black and white and its Fassbinder's homage to old films like "Sunset Boulevard" but the black and white cinematography actually resembles the look of the films that the UFA Studios made in the 30's and 40's. The film for the most part is very dark looking except for the scenes in the office of Dr. Katz. All the decor in this place is very shiny and white and I think Fassbinder wanted this area to appear dreamlike or heavenly and its in stark contrast to the very dark tone of the outside world. The character Robert wants to try and save Veronika but its to no avail and Fassbinder wanted him to symbolize how people wanted to change and save others through their own selfish reasons. Not that they necessarily want to do harm but for their own sake of humanity. Fassbinder was a die hard cynic and he portrays Roberts efforts to save Veronika and expose Dr. Katz as pathetic and futile. This simple everyman was in way over his head and its a jab by Fassbinder to the common man who tries to stand up to corruption. The story is loosely based on a real German actress named Sybille Schmitz. This film is not in the same league as "Marriage of Maria Braun" and even though Zech is pretty good she doesn't give the commanding performance that Hanna Schygulla did. This is still a very interesting film to watch and all three films in this trilogy should be viewed. Fassbinder has once again directed a visually striking film and gives the viewer another look at a character that has sold their soul in the war.
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Memories are made of this
dkbs25 May 2005
Like many other Fassbinder films "Die Sehnsucht der Veronika Voss" tells about a decline and is very depressing. It is a visually stunning film that shows how much Fassbinder admired the classical Hollywood cinema and especially the films of Douglas Sirk. Like the films of his idol this film is stylish and artificial to an extreme extent which creates quite a distance between itself and the audience. Probably an even greater distance, since the style and the artificiality are used more consciously here, even as a instrument of alienation. So it is more fascinating than touching or even moving and might leave one even cold. Nevertheless the story is intriguing and it really tells something about the post war society in West Germany, so the film is interesting and even fascinating to watch. The scene where Rosel Zech as Veronika sings "Memories Are Made Of This" is very haunting, a gem.
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Fassbinder's bleakly bitter examination of guilt, greed and exploitation
ThreeSadTigers23 March 2008
Warning: Spoilers
Veronika Voss (1982) was the final part of director Rainer Werner Fassbinder's celebrated trilogy of films that looked specifically at the period following the end of the Second World War, and in particular, the socio-political and economic re-birth of Germany following the Wirtschaftswunder. All three films in the trilogy look at these situations through the eyes of a strong-willed, arrogant and determined female-protagonist who strives against all odds to achieve the kind of lifestyle that she has always desired, but, once she does, finds herself still feeling empty and lacking in spirit. The characters in these films come to represent Fassbinder's own feelings about the Germany of this particular period, whilst simultaneously acting as an allegorical portrayal and deeper interpretation of the qualities and characteristics of the country itself.

The first film in this loose, thematic trilogy, The Marriage of Maria Braun (1979), looked at the ideas of determination and the triumph of will that would go towards rebuilding Germany from the ashes of the Second World War through the eyes of resolute young woman willing to push her own emotional stability to breaking point in order to secure a better future for her and her incarcerated husband. The second film, Lola (1981), which took its inspiration from Josef von Sternberg's The Blue Angel (1930), looked at how that same sense of opportunism, greed and determination can be used for more selfish reasons, sowing the seeds of tragedy and eventual air of blind exploitation that will come full circle here. Veronika Voss exists in very much the same cinematic universe as the two other films that would come to form the backbone of what would eventually become known "the BRD trilogy"; though Fassbinder himself had often talked of plans to make more films in a similar vein - analysing post-war German history through to the present day - but was unable to continue the theme due to his untimely death in June of 1982.

It would have been interesting to see where Fassbinder would have taken these continuing themes following Veronika Voss, which ends on a perfect note of heartbreaking cynicism, very much in tune with the Germany, and indeed, the world itself at the end of the 1970's; representing in a sense the same emotional landscape of cold desperation and political confusion presented in his more personal, contemporary-set films of the same era, such as In a Year of 13 Moons (1978) and The Third Generation (1979). Like those films, Veronika Voss continues Fassbinder's reputation as probably the greatest exploitation filmmaker who ever lived, in the sense of the crushing despair and continual disappointment that befalls his various characters whenever they put their trust in the hands of others. This can be seen as far back as the masterful Fox and his Friends (1975) as well as the underrated Mother Kusters' Trip to Heaven (1976), with Veronika Voss continuing the themes of those particular films, but with the greater sense of visual experimentation and bold use of mise-en-scene that would be found in his last few films following The Marriage of Maria Braun.

Whereas that film employed a much grittier use of production design and almost unglamorous use of cinematography - the complete antithesis to the subsequent Lola and its gorgeous kaleidoscope of luminous colours and expressive use of shadow - Veronika Voss is presented in cold, stark, gorgeously textured black and white. The use of photography combined with the costume and production design not only give us a definite feel for the period in which the film is set, but also a great understanding of the moods of the characters and the atmosphere of the world in which they inhabit. It also allows Fassbinder and his cinematographer Xaver Schwarzenberger to draw parallels, not only to the 40's and 50's set Hollywood melodramas that have seemingly inspired the plot and use of character - I'm thinking specifically of references to Sunset Blvd (1950) - but also capturing the very iconic style of the early, pre-Second World War cinema of the UFA film studios, which plays an important part in Veronika's spiral into the pits of despair.

Fassbinder incorporates other elements such as a romantic subplot and traces of a perhaps volatile love triangle with more elaborate references to detective fiction, cinema and the blurring of the past with the present. These stylistic devices help to keep the film moving with a brisk enough pace, while the continual use of confinement and claustrophobic camera angles that exaggerate how close, yet similarly disconnected the characters are from one another, help to convey the more hopeless and alienated aspects of Veronika's internal state-of-mind. Without question, this is one of Fassbinder's most interesting films; a bleak and bitter minor masterpiece that continues the themes and ideas behind The Marriage of Maria Braun and Lola, whilst also bringing to a close, in hindsight, a number of reoccurring themes familiar to anyone with a fondness for or interest in Fassbinder's life and work.

Veronika Voss is intelligent and deeply emotional film-making rife with ideas that are still relevant, both socially and historically; such as the aforementioned allusions to the UFA film studios as well as Veronika's hinted affair with Joseph Goebbels and the broader, more controversial historical implications suggested therein. As with the majority of the Fassbinder's work, Veronika Voss is intense, evocative and unbelievably well acted - particularly by Rosel Zech, Himar Thate and Annemarie Düringer - though it is perhaps worth mentioning that the bleak arch of the narrative combined with the almost despairing allusions to the again aforementioned Sunset Blvd (and films of that ilk) may be a little too formidable or uninviting for some. Although Fassbinder would go on to produce one more film before his death, the dizzying and surreal adaptation of Genet's Querelle (1982), Veronika Voss - along with the other two films in the BRD trilogy - is a fitting testament to his enormous talent and under-appreciated genius.
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Haunting and beautiful period piece
tomgillespie20026 October 2011
This sumptuous black and white period piece, tells the story of a once famous film star, Veronika Voss (Rosel Zech). After a chance encounter on a bus with Robert Krohn (Hilmar Thate), there lives are entwined, with Krohn finding himself trapped in a cat-and-mouse search for Voss's sanity, her past lives, and the many sycophants and gold diggers in 1950's Germany. Voss, now struggling to find work after a highly successful period, particularly in the 1940's, is addicted to drugs and alcohol and has paranoid delusions when out on the street; Krohn is pulled into this as he did not recognise who she was, and she vaguely sees him as protection.

One of the last of Fassbinder's films - he died of an overdose (the official conclusion was suicide) in 1982 - which was also the last of a trilogy focusing on Germany's economic boom in the 1950's (the others being The Marriage of Maria Braun (1979) and Lola (1981)), the film also reflects some of the themes that the New German Cinema at the time. It was a time that Germany was reflective of World War 2, and the trauma that prevailed in a country torn between guilt and a resurgence of decadence and wealth as in the 1920's Weimar Republic. It is stated in the film that Voss's best period was during this period, and that she had been the star of Nazi Germany. After the fall of Nazi domination, she was cast aside.

Like Billy Wilder's Sunset Boulevard (1950), Veronika Voss highlights an industry that can easily create monsters, and also devastate lives. But unlike Wilder's subtle version of lost fame, Fassbinder shows the devastating effects of drug addiction, and the underbelly of society that is encountered in this process. Historically though, this is deeper and a hell of a lot more emotionally charged and interesting than Sunset. After all, this is not a Hollywood story, but is a post-World War 2 story of judgement, and loss after such a integrally debasing event in human history. How do you continue after working under the despotic power of the Nazi party? The elements of Nazi Germany are still in process, in the form of Veronika's control.

The film is said to be based upon the real-life German film actress, Sybille Schmitz, who died of an overdose in 1955 at the tender age of 45. The film shows shows that the shadow of the war had a lasting effect on the German nation, that would take decades to come to terms with. This is film making par excellence. Haunting, beautiful, with a climax that is inevitable, shocking, but very satisfactory. Rosel Zech's performance is pitch perfect, her face in a constant state of anguish.
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The search for congealed history
hasosch12 October 2009
Rainer Werner Fassbinder's second-but-last film does not show primarily the life and downfall of the UFA-star Sybille Schmitz, but gives, at the hand of the Schmitz-inspired, yet fictive character Veronika Voss an unvarnished and hopeless picture of the Bundesrepublik Germany in the 50ies. Part of Fassbinder's "BRD-Trilogy", it is also one of his 4 "women"-films, besides "Lola", "Maria Braun", and "Lili Marleen".

It is hard to say if the main focus of this movie is the former UFA-star Veronika Voss or the sports reporter Robert Krohn. One rainy night, he meets, in a little forest amidst of Berlin, a crying little bundle of mensch who seems to have completely lost her orientation. She is not so much thankful for his help but astonished that he does not recognize her: the great Veronika Voss. After he accompanies the woman to her door, she continues to occupy his mind. He asks his older colleagues who confirm him that she was once a movies' super-star, but now forgotten, divorced, impoverished, addicted and out of work. Soon, they meet again, and between Krohn, who is in a steady liaison, and Veronika, who sees in him one of her once many admirers, a very problematic love story starts which costs two humans' lives, leaves an investigative mind back in despair, discloses the corruption between medicine and politics and portrays the deterrent situation in the post-war German film industry which used his former flagships as fuel.

R.W. Fassbinder got for this films the "Golden Bear" out of the hand of Jimmy Stewart who was his friend for many years. Fassbinder had been nominated for the highest German film price since a long time, but it was Stewart who realized that soon it might come too late. Fassbinder passed away only a few days after having received the Golden Bear.
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Yearning and Addiction
Perception_de_Ambiguity21 January 2011
Warning: Spoilers
I liked "Veronika Voss" surprisingly much. I saw some themes in there that kept my interest. So far I hadn't liked RWF's films of his last period (that's out of three periods). I especially liked how it took the word "Sehnsucht" literally: sehnen = yearning; Sucht = addiction. It's how I like to ponder on the word.

What I think appealed to Robert about Veronika was her public status. She was a prestigious grande dame, not unattractive and he thought she was rich. Such a person has a special appeal. Robert's girlfriend also understood this appeal very well and almost accepted the situation without putting up a fight. Robert's appeal for Veronika was that she told herself that he was interested in her for her own (fading) beauty, while in reality he did recognize the film star before he offered her "umbrella and protection".

A moment that made me break out in laughter was also towards the beginning when Veronika and Robert are having a drink, he says something like "reality isn't like a movie", she agrees and not even a second later she turns to the waiter and bursts out: "The lighting is hideous in here! Turn those lights off and light the candles!" Also unsubtle but very poignant and a humorous moment.

For a minute I was a bit disappointed when in the film suddenly a villain emerged in the person of the doctor. It wasn't what I wanted from the film, but it unexpectedly actually made this RWF's most suspenseful film because of the second half. I find it to be more of a thriller than 'Martha' was.

The scene with Veronika denying Robert Krohn in front of the police I thought would have made a satisfying and poignant ending but it continued the story quite hastily with Veronika dying and Robert giving up, which eventually also made for a good and probably even more poignant ending.

I'm sure those anything-but-subtle lens flares had their purpose. For Veronika it wasn't just a happy past but she glorifies this time of her life, which justifies this extreme visual effect.

The overall bright B&W photography is excellent eye candy. It's an unusual approach to tell a dark story in so much white and to tell a relatively sober period piece in stark B&W.
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My brief review of the film
sol-26 June 2005
Beautifully photographed in simple black and white, with some lovely gliding shots and some interesting camera angles and framing, the film is an amazement on a visual scope, even if the screenplay and acting are nothing special. Fassbinder's choice of lighting is excellent, giving true stark contrast between areas of black and areas of white in certain scenes. Sound is a significant aspect too, with soft radio recording heard in the background of just about every scene. The meaning behind such an audio style is not clear, but still it provides an interesting feel if not much else. As already alluded to however, the technical aspects outweigh the rest of the film. It is a rather cold tale with awkward characters, which are hard to sympathise with. Towards the end it also goes off on a bit of a tangent, from being a drama to a thriller. The film definitely seems more dedicated to its style than its substance, but that only makes is a certainly degree less fascinating to watch. The style quite literally sparkles and the film applies a few interesting editing tricks to change from scene to scene. If not involving as a tale, it is nevertheless great "eye candy".
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Quite good
zetes7 December 2002
A man runs into a pretty but aging woman in the middle of a rainstorm. He politely protects her from the downpour with his umbrella, and even lifts her over a fence so she can get to her bus. He also gets on the bus, and, beginning to pant, she declares that she can't go near anyone else on the bus, because she's a famous actress and she'll be thronged. The other passengers on the bus look up at the exasperated woman, but don't pay her any more mind than that. A bit later, the woman proudly tells the man that she is Veronika Voss, and all he can do is politely nod. She hasn't been in a movie for three years, and hasn't been in a good one for longer than that. Veronika has to try really hard to pin the man, Robert, down and seduce him, and even when she accomplishes this feat he doesn't seem particularly interested. Robert's interest does grow when he begins to discover some nasty secrets about her life, notably that she is addicted to morphine. A strange doctor seems to be little more than a local drug dealer when he begins to look into the situation.

The plot is decent; it would have been a really good one for a classic Hollywood film starring Joan Crawford or Bette Davis or someone like that. Its greatest worth is in the performance of Rosel Zech, who has the titular role. Cornelia Froboess as Robert's girlfriend and Annemarie Düringer as the wicked doctor are also good. The character of Robert is never very interesting. The black and white cinematography (Xaver Schwarzenberger) and the unconventional score (Peer Raben) are very good. The tape I watched was not in a very good condition, so I may have liked it more if I had seen a better copy. 8/10.
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Dances with Death
Galina_movie_fan15 October 2006
A famous German actress, Veronika Voss (Rozel Zech) in her forties tries to revive her career while struggling with alcohol and drugs in the final chapter to Fassbinder's trilogy about collapse of the West German postwar dream. The film was inspired by the tragic life of famous UFA actress, Sybille Schmitz (1909-1955). She began her career in the films by the giants such Georg Wilhelm Pabst and Carl Theodor Dreyer and soon became one of Germany's beloved actress. Everything changed during the WWII and especially after its end.

Fassbinder's film which was shot in black and white visually is very impressive. "Light and shadows are two cinema's best secrets" says Veronika in the movie and light and shadows make the film a joy to behold. I like it but I think it is the weakest part of the trilogy perhaps because "Lola" and "Maria Braun" are so strong. I found the documentary about Sybille Schmitz, "Dances with Death" which is included on Criterion DVD much more compelling.

Veronika - 7/10 Dances with Death 8.5/10
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A melancholy tribute to the black and white films of the past
theorbys19 August 1999
Rosel Zech, who from some angles reminds us of Marlene Dietrich or Delphine Seyrig, plays Veronika Voss, a fading German movie star whose story is a European take on Sunset Boulevard. The film uses black and white photography to create effects of light, shadow, and pure luminosity that work brilliantly such as the opening scene in the tramway car, or the interior of the Dr. Katz's clinic. The scene where Veronika sings Memories Are Made Of This in a low husky voice that recalls Dietrich at her world weary best caps it all off perfectly.
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Fassbinder's penultimate film, a black and white lens of post WWII reflection
lasttimeisaw5 October 2015
Warning: Spoilers
Fassbinder's penultimate film, a Golden Berlin Bear winner in 1982, VERONIKA VOSS is a strikingly- looking black-and-white art-house vehicle loosely blueprinted on the tragic real life story of German film star Sybille Schmitz (VAMPYR 1932, MASTER OF THE WORLD 1934, TITANIC 1943).

The time-line is set in 1955, post-WWII Munich, Veronika Voss (Zech) is an over-the-hill middle- aged actress, her career has remained stagnant for years, divorced by her screenwriter husband Max (Mueller-Stahl), now she lives in a psychiatric clinic governed by Dr. Marianne Katz (Düringer) and her assistant Josefa (Schade), where in Schmitz's story, they are a lesbian couple. They proffer her morphine for her addiction in exchange of her estate and fortune, it is a shady racket in broad daylight which ensnares many pain-afflicting addicts, once their clients are no longer affordable, they will discard them like insignificant pawns.

Veronika is very close to this peril, will her be saved? The supposed knight in shining amour is Robert Krohn (Thate), a short, ordinary-looking sports journalist in his mid-40s, who has a stable girlfriend Henriette (Froboess) and doesn't even recognise her when they first meet during a downpour in the night, maybe this is a major reason why Veronika finds him special, deems him as someone who can simply treat her as an attractive woman, without all the celebrity halos. Their rendezvous evade any surreptitious pretences, Robert is fairly open about that and once Veronika even asks for his escort to her estate in spite of Henriette's presence. Veronika is a damaged good already, pompous, insecure and self-seeking, sees Robert as her last straw to revitalise her life and plans a dramatic return to the limelight, yet, all will fall flat since her Achilles heel is firmly clutched by the evil doctors, she cannot be saved, it is physically impossible, a fatalistic manifesto to those incorrigibly poisoned, corrupted and weak-minded. Zech manifests a telling facet of Veronika's jittery unstableness, holds great poise while inside she is beyond salvation.

Thate's Robert, a common victim of an everyman's heroic fantasy, to fall for a damsel-in-distress, and rescues her from whatever evil force torments her. Only in Fassbinder's book, the reality is too gloom to conjure up a gratifying victory, Robert has to endure a bigger loss other than Veronika, Thate's performance brings about quite a subtle poignancy as the story goes into a more sinister twist. Annemarie Düringer, strikes up a whiff of frigid viciousness underneath Dr. Katz's usual professional persona, so is Froboess, her Henriette is the only innocent person in it, piqued by the blatant affair, but she doesn't counteract with resent or jealousy, on the contrary, she risks herself in Robert's plan to expose Dr. Katz's seedy business, unaware of the lurking danger. Innocence simply cannot reside in this corrupt world.

Fassbinder's sleight-of-hand with lights and shadows infuses a nostalgic glamour to its texture; many a time, the camera moves like a serpentine, observing behind glasses like a voyeur, especially in the brightly white psychiatric clinic, extremely inhuman as if all the human trace has been sterilised altogether.

As the second part of Fassbinder's BRD Trilogy, THE MARRIAGE OF MARIA BRAUN (1979) is the first one, and LOLA (1981) released one-year earlier than VERONIKA VOSS, is captioned as the third chapter, the film is a pessimistic probe into WWII residual affected on this one particular specimen, Veronika chooses to forget about the past and move on (it is implied she was in an affair with Goebbels), numbs herself with indulgence on drugs, one may argue that she is bringing all the trouble on herself, that's why, the ending is so cold and despondent, we cannot pretend nothing has happened, there must be consequences for those who are participated, whether actively or passively.
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Fassbinder's great noir
bob99830 May 2007
Thsi is a wonderful noir by Fassbinder that recalls the classic film actors more than it does the gritty analyses of post war German economic success that he gave us in Lola and Maria Braun. I thought about Wilder's Sunset Boulevard, Preminger's Laura and Hitchcock's Notorious... anything but a remake of a drug-addiction film.

Rosel Zech as Veronika Voss is wonderful; her wistful faded elegance in the scenes with Krone is memorable. Hilmar Thate plays a reporter who's in over his head trying to write about a faded film star, as his editor reminds him; it's a performance that reminds me of Dana Andrews in Laura. The cinematography by Xaver Schwarzenberger is superb: the rainy night scenes and the glaring white of the clinic were very well rendered.
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One sad tale
m671654 June 2003
This movie left me feeling rather low. Its world is quite bleak. People are either strong or weak in the face of a society that feels cold. Looks like being strong won't make any difference in the long run. A very sad tale with beautiful black and white photography.
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maybe Fassbinder's true masterpiece - which, in his career span, says a lot
Quinoa198415 June 2009
Veronika Voss is a movie in love with movies, and also a movie where its maker, RW Fassbinder, continues on his life/career-long obsession with capturing the essence of melodrama on screen. He might have come closest with this story, since it allows him to make it a "movie-movie", so to speak. I saw some echoes, mayhap, of Sunset Blvd and even Ed Wood, and that may just be attributable to it being a true story (more or less as one would gather from this cinema "tribute" to Sybille Schmitz), but maybe too in how fascinated Fassbinder is with glamor and decadence, decay and self-absorption, the mental faculties to be caring and gentle (Robert) and with a streak that suggests the very essence of everything arguably wrong in Germans (the doctors who keep Veronika quasi-captive, hooking her onto morphine). It's a glorious, multi-faceted critique of a time and place, of a 1950s Germany that had moved on from the war only relatively - the madness could, and would, continue on in ways that involve some subtext, and some things so out in the open it's hard to stand it.

It's ostensibly, in its "plot" sense, about a sports reporter for a paper, mild-mannered Robert, who on a bus one night helps shield the movie star (or once real "STAR" in quotes) Veronika Voss (very great Rosel Zech). She's interested in him, convinces him to buy her an item for $300, and he's interested too - if only for how she's not really, how to say, 'balanced', and we soon see that she is in fact under medical care of an unusual sort by Dr. Marianne Katz. That, and the involvement soon after with Robert's girlfriend in trying to figure out how to get Veronika real help, of getting the police involved as well, makes up the bulk of the rest of the story. We also get a subplot of sorts with an old couple (one look at the arm, numbers tattooed, is all that's needed to fill the pieces), but Fassbinder isn't interested in plot, per-say. He's interested in how to move it, how to transgress a simple melodrama into something more lively, profound and moving.

He's also invested in creating this look for the film that is at times expressionistic of a 1930s tone, of the dark corners and streets and moments of a film-noir, and then sudden blasts of bright light thrown in (an early scene has a bunch of lights intentionally blasting at the camera lens, a perfect homage to cinema itself), with the glamor of a expensive restaurant contrasted with the white walls of Katz's quarters. Fassbinder wants us to see this as a "movie" in the sense of the usage of crafty dissolves and fades, or those wipes that are precisely artificial, but at the same time not lose sight of the drama at hand. Part of this is the acting, which is by many of Fassbinder's regulars- not least of which Armin Mueller-Stahl in a terrific, quiet but haunted supporting role as a screenwriter and ex-husband of Veroika's who says a great deal in one look to Robert down a hallway while a scene is being shot; or Günther Kaufmann, perhaps the one loose link to the previous film in the "BDR trilogy" as a G.I. who adds a curiously affecting song he sings to himself in the middle of a dramatic scene between the doctor and Veronika.

Another part of this are just many, many great scenes and moments put together. Things like when the doctors start to laugh after one of them says around Veronika "It's not like we're trying to kill you," with it bordering on an Austin Powers level of absurdity, if it weren't for it being so cold a moment of satire. Or how we see Robert and Veronika contrasted, brilliantly by cinematographer Schwarzenberger, with Robert being relatively normally lit while Veronika's face gets slightly brighter with each cut-away as they talk at a table in the restaurant. Or how music is used throughout, the collection of tunes from the radio mixing with the actual score, creating a sense of illusion and madness that gets us close to the psyche of Veronika Voss while still maintaining the homage-quality of the picture. And, most notably for me, are the closing scenes, where, without revealing too much (though it may be hard in just revealing it's a melodrama at the core), Veronika dreams of a farewell party, that may be surreal enough to be a dream, but in that first moment of singing at the piano who is to say?

It's such a stroke of beautiful film-making all around, from the mix of sets and real locations to the sense of history captured, of the given theme of fame being so easy to disintegrate, of the melancholic sense of cinema that bears on our lives while civilization crumbles and gets back up again. Maybe this is just what I took away from it, but it's all a credit to Fassbinder's dedication to his art form - which, soon after this, took his own life from a similar excess to that of his character here. Moreover, it's one of the superb films of its country.
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The Price of Fame: The Futile Maintenance of A Fading Image
museumofdave23 March 2013
In her own eyes,Veronika Voss is not really alive unless she retains her audience, unless she is loved and admired for her manufactured image. There are times in movies when Technicolor will not do, when the use of traditional black and white evokes evokes film noir, in this case referencing Billy Wilder's brilliant evisceration of and the pain of fading fame, Sunset Boulevard. The fine shadings of mood and atmosphere reflect the life led by Veronika under studio lights, just as the stark, unrelenting whites at her doctor's office blind her to reality during her visits for morphine injections.

Veronika Voss is based on the life of an actual German actress who rarely came alive unless under the lights, depicting a harsh and unrelenting life lived vicariously; it is a harsh look at a cruel existence increasingly dependent on addictive drugs to soften the hard knocks that come with the loss of fame and inability to face simultaneous aging process; it is a film worth repeated viewings.
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A Story of Indifference
boblipton15 July 2019
Rosel Zech is Veronika Voss, a glamorous movie star of Nazi-era Germany. Reporter Hilmar Thate runs into her on a trolley car and thinks she might make an interesting story. He discovers a woman forgotten by the industry, living on the edge of poverty and subsisting on drug-fueled dreams.

Rainer Werner Fassbinder's look at the embarrassing detritus of UFA is alleged to be based on what happened to Sybille Schmitz after the war. It's shot in black & white, with Miss Zech's scene clearly set in her imagination, where the lights are bright and brilliant, smoothing out her wrinkles as she descends into madness. Fassbinder clearly disapproves of everyone, from the reality-shunning Zech, to the new film industry, impatient of such embarrrassing ruins, to the police efficiently and indifferently carrying out the dictates of the law, to Thate, representing the press, who makes a futile effort, gives up and comments that it's not a story that anyone will want to read. Should we applaud Fassbinder for telling the story, or did he simply think it commercial?
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Interesting; could be better.
Sdicht17 May 2002
The black & white cinematography is extremely elegant and in some scenes the light points shine as stars. Fassbinder adopts styles similar to those from the films where Veronika Voss could have acted if she existed, and leads the film to the end without much of his forced pedantism. Among the best scenes is one of the final sequences, in which Veronika dreams being again the center of the attentions (singing "Dreams are made of this"), and the continuous takes in her attempt to reestabilish her acting. Near its half, the film starts to lose the cohesion and some ways of development of the plot are wasted to arrive in a stupid and complacent ending.
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Veronica Voss
haz56711 February 2008
This was my introduction to the works of Rainer Werner Fassbinder & only one of a short selection of New German Cinema I have seen.

Immediate thoughts were that the direction is nice, Fassbinder has a fascination of adding touches such as shooting from behind objects such as windows and walls and framing the scene within this context as well as lots of interplay with shadows. The black and white is used to a really good contrast and if anything the film is pleasing to look at. Scenes with the leading lady have glitter shining off her jewelery and it looks like you would expect fame in all its superficial but alluring glory.

The soundtrack is great, I get off on detail in this area and radio interludes constantly playing in the background a'la Midnight Cowboy along with well timed emotional musical cues are very effective. A few songs are highlighted in key scenes such as some twangy country music and the beautiful vocal number towards the end which provides quite an impact on the senses.

The thing that really lets Veronica Voss down is the story, its good but its just not very interesting. A sports reported has an affair with a fading actress, who is involved in a plot by a neurologist that hooks rich patients up with morphine to get their trust and eventually their fortune when they die. Now... it sounds workable and it is. But its rather plodding how it is played out, although the actors are fantastic and do a great job portraying their characters it all feels very superficial and it is hard to sympathize with their plight. Some might argue that this is the intention of the film maker to get across the superficial nature of actresses in general but it doesn't feel so convincing to me.

In short Veronica Voss is a feast for the eyes at times, and the soundtrack is excellent but something feels a tad hollow. Most of the appeal seems to come from that it shows off the era, and well I can respect it for that.
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"You wanted to save me -- safe harbor in a storm"
evening119 August 2019
Warning: Spoilers
I am a great fan of director Werner Fassbinder, but I found myself a little impatient with this overly long and lugubrious film.

The faded diva at its heart, Veronika Voss (Rosel Zech), creates an interesting persona and has some good lines as an actress trying to make a comeback but doomed by her addiction to morphine and predatory doctor. Hilmar Thate is also good as Robert Krohn, a sports reporter who somewhat inscrutably risks everything to try to save her.

The film starts strongly in a dark and rainy woods -- could this scene have inspired another copse-based interlude in the much later Germany-set movie "Suspiria"? -- as the dour working man and neurotic drama queen cross paths by happenstance. It's the beginning of an unhealthy relationship during which Krohn's cynical girlfriend -- "Do you love her?" "We get along" -- is emotionally abused but keeps going back for more.

The story gets uncharacteristically dull, for Fassbinder, as we have to slog through grim scenes involving Veronika's callous physician, Dr. Katz. Much of this seemed like self-serious fodder to me, time wasting in order to stretch the film out to feature length. The movie ends on a down note of fatalism and futility in the face of evil.

There are some valuable messages here, but I expected more of the psychologically ambitious Fassbinder.

Some of the better lines in this film...

From a newsroom colleague to Krohn: "Sports are always about the winners, and I'm interested in the losers."

Veronika's world-weary husband, nicely played by Armin Mueller-Stahl, notes at a certain point the difference in the spouses' motivations for drinking -- he imbibes to calm down; she knocks them back for a pick-up. Rather than being jealous of Krohn, this character is saturnine about the scribe's "love" for his ex: "For one night of bliss, (you) would give everything...She will be your downfall. She will destroy you."

From Veronika we also hear, "Farewells and arrivals are the nicest things in life." (She could be right about that.) And, regarding Dr. Katz, "I have always known where I stand with you." (This recalls Maya Angelou's wise words: "When someone shows you who they are, believe them -- the first time.")

This film is wryly scored with several American hits from the Fifties, including "Sixteen Tons" by Tennessee Ernie Ford, and Dean Martin's "Memories are Made of This."
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German art house
SnoopyStyle16 July 2019
It's 1955 Munich. Veronika Voss is a former UFA movie star. She is surprised that reporter Robert Krohn doesn't know her famous past and they have an affair. He does a story about her and uncovers a dark story of addiction orchestrated by her doctor Marianne Katz. He recruits his girlfriend Henriette to go undercover to get morphine from Katz.

Director Rainer Werner Fassbinder delivers a dark story of faded glory much like Sunset Boulevard. Rosel Zech delivers a performance worthy of Marlene Dietrich. The black and white cinematography delivers a surreal vision of the past. It is dark, German, art house, and depressing. It is worthy of cinephiles.
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great noir film
spentcity16 April 2006
OK yes this a European film ,not a mind numb American film it has depth and layers its not ET ,its something of something of a later day Orson Wells noir B/W cinematic gem ,that echoes the 1940s but was filmed in the 80s. Voss a sort of Marlena Dietrich in the film ,she goes in and out of reality due to morphine from her keepers( a corrupt Dr)Set in 1950s Berlin( the zone) black American soldier,pop American songs on the radio. A drug induced gem of a film ,Fassbinder himself was an addict and he captures the prison of addiction in this film .The setting an aging German ex- prewar film sex symbol ,now the wars over and so is her career. shes held captive by drugs given to her in an sanitarium while the good doctor robs her blind and abuses her and others in in a blissful deranged fantasy life ,she provides in cold war Germany in the allied section .An sports reporter has a chance encounter with Voss on a train during a rain and is captivated by her sex appeal and vulnerability .he realizes the gravity of her life and the doctors evil business and the drugs .Then he tries to help her while infatuated, its black and white with high contrast glittery dream sequences, were reality becomes a dream and the starkness becomes sparkly and Voss is again a star.This movie id GREAT i certainly can not express the quality through my ramblings buy it

see it

rent it steal it mike spent
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Pure "Rainer Fassbinder" Incompetence
StrictlyConfidential11 November 2018
IMO - If "Veronika Voss" were a Hollywood production, you can bet your bottom dollar that very few people would be praising it as they do. Yep. It's true.

Incompetently directed by German film-maker, Rainer Fassbinder - This 1982 motion picture certainly proved to me that said film-maker was a clueless amateur who clearly had no real talent for creating a worthwhile cinematic offering that could hold the viewer's undivided attention for more than just a few flash-minutes.

As a perfect example of this gaudy, excessive, and depressing film's irritation-factor - Fassbinder had filmed so many of its scenes in front of so much glaring white background that, before long, this distraction became almost blinding at times.... What more can I say?
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Declining Warning: Spoilers
The 105-minute "Die Sehnsucht der Veronika Voss" or just "Veronika Voss" is a Rainer Werner Fassbinder film from 1982, almost 35 years old and among the finals works by one of the most successful German filmmakers. He died the very same year an untimely death at under 40. The title is a giveaway as these Fassbinder films usually include female characters and always sound a bit pretentious. For him, it was a return back to the roots as he started his career 15 years earlier with black-and-white films and this one also lacks color. 4 cast members received German Film Awards nominations here, but nobody won and this includes the late lead actress Rosel Zech and also Hilmar Thate, who I usually quite like. But sadly, I felt he was mostly forgettable in here just like Zech and many other aspects from this movie. It is about the fate of an actress who seems to struggle in keeping her career going or even in terms of improving it. We are told about her fate in terms pf professional life and private life, when she is on the lookout for love. Will she find success in either of the two areas? Or will it end in disaster as it sometimes does in Fassbinder films? Watch for yourself. Or don't as in my opinion, this film is far away from Fassbinder's most convincing works. Then again, I am not the very greatest fan of the man's films, so maybe you will think differently here. However, if you have seen nothing from the man don't start with this one. It is not easily accessible at all. Thumbs down from me.
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One of the "Epilogue"-Films of Fassbhinder
semiotechlab-658-9544417 February 2010
It is quite amazing that despite the huge literature about Fassbinder's work, there seems to be not one single monograph dedicated explicitly to the function of the epilogues in Fassbinder's movies.

The most known of the "episodes" is the 2-hours long film "My dream of the dream of Franz Biberkopf", a summary and personal interpretation as well as continuation of "Berlin Alexanderplatz" (1978/79), published as part 14 of the mini-series. Characteristic of this all the other Fassbinder-Eplilogues are: Apocalyptic decoration, disruption of any possible plot lines and connections between the characters; transportation of a text spoken by a figure onto other figures who repeat that text, but in an other context; basic topics: religion, end of life, apocalypse, revelation, resurrection, connection between sexuality and church. A special function is given to the rather short epilogue, that is embedded in the film, in "Veronika Voss" (1982): After the former UFA-star has gotten a chance to celebrate her own "glamorous" farewell, she dreams the whole evening again and varies so-to-say the crucial moments: What would have happened if she had told Robert Krohn about her morphine-addiction? Was there a chance to still escape her destruction by her psychiatrist? To start a new life with Robert? To resume her career? Only through this epilogue it becomes clear why Veronika did not take her chance of escaping her addiction and imprisoning when she meets Robert for the first time in the Geiselgasteig forest, why she prefers to lie on herself instead of giving up her attitude which alone enables Dr. Katz to turn her into her propriety. Through the epilogue, we realize that Veronika Voss had started her "trip into the light" (Fassbinder) already a long time ago: a trip of no return. So, one is seduced to speculate that Fassbinder's last movie "Querelle" (1982) is nothing but an epilogue chosen by the dying director in order to interpret and reinterpret his life and his 66 films (every episode counted). Going back in time, changing the switches - and how would the present look then, now? Franz Biberkopf gets, pace epilogue, another change, turns back to life and spends his last decades in complete anonymity. Veronika Voss does not get a chance anymore, because she is one of Fassbinder's "light"-persons, like Herr R. in "Why does Herr R. run amok", Fox in "Fox and his friends", Lily Brest in "Shadow of Angels", Effi Briest in "Effi Briest", Herr Bauer in "Fear of Fear", Mother Küsters in "Mother Küsters' Trip to Heaven", Elvira/Erwin in "A Year with 13 Moons" - here one might also mention the persons who "survive" crippled or demented - like Martha in "Martha", Margot in "Fear of Fear", Peter in "I only want you to love me", Franz Xaver Bolwieser in "The Stationmaster's Wife" and many others of Fassbinder's universe. For Querelle and his friends, the question does not rise anymore, since the whole story is situated already in an imaginary future to which Zehetbauer's total artificial studio-set corresponds marvelously. The end of interpretations and reinterpretations as given in the "Epilogues" takes place only when the present Topoi have overcome and have been substituted by a future Ou-Topia.
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