Watch a Young R.W. Fassbinder in Douglas Sirk’s ‘Bourbon Street Blues’

In his brief life, Rainer Werner Fassbinder was a kinetic creative force of energy, having made over forty films in total. Both brutal and ferociously empathetic, he was a playwright and an actor prior to stepping behind the camera, and that sense of theatricality and grandeur present on the stage lingered throughout his cinematic oeuvre. From his early films to the BDR Trilogy, his films are full of choreographed movements and static positioning, he took his cues from musicals and art rather than traditional stage plays and the realism of film.

Heavily influenced by Bertolt Brecht and his ideas of verfremdungseffekt, or the alienation effect, he crafted his films such that the audience is always consciously aware that they are watching a film, never losing themselves completely in the emotions and psychology of his characters. His early films work as an extensive of his theatrical career, whereas his later work plays more to melodramatic conventions, rooted in influence of American director, Douglas Sirk. And today we’re reminded by The Seventh Art about the 1979 film Bourbon Street Blues, which Sirk co-directed but “still feels very much like one of his late-period melodramas, except the action transpires in a run-down apartment building rather than the pastel world of 50s suburbia.” 
The film concerns an alcoholic, cockroach-fearing tenant who has failed to pay her rent and the argument that ensues between her, her landlady, and another resident of the building (played, very impressively, by Rainer Werner Fassbinder, an early known champion of the director). In true Sirk fashion, the scene, through several emotional monologues, evolves into a bittersweet parable about losing sight of your dreams and finding solace through an imagined reality.
Enjoy the short film below.

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