The American Soldier sees Fassbinder continue to pursue the cinephilic homage to classic Hollywood crime films of his feature debut, Love is Colder than Death, in a tale of a German-American Vietnam vet turned small-time hoodlum who finds himself on the wrong side of the law in Munich, where he grew up. Unseen between its first television broadcast in 1970 and its rediscovery in 2002, The Niklashausen Journey chronicles the journey of a young peasant in the 15th century and his quest to overcome social injustice, in Fassbinder’s allegorical critique of the student movement.
Gods of the Plague portrays a newly released ex-con as he reacquaints himself with Munich’s criminal underworld to plan the robbery of a supermarket. In Rio Das Mortes, two feckless young friends, Michel and Günther, embark on a hare-brained scheme to look for lost treasure in Peru, against strong opposition from Michel’s fiancée.
Mother Kusters Goes to Heaven stars Brigitte Mira (Fear Eats the Soul) as a middle-aged housewife who is roused into revolutionary activity after her husband dies in an industrial accident. Based on a story by Asta Scheib, Fear of Fear features Fassbinder favourite Margit Carstensen (The Bitter Tears of Petra von Kant) as the young mother plagued with feelings of anxiety and depression as she is left to spend her hours alone surrounded by her judgemental in-laws while her husband spends his days at work. Satan’s Brew sees Fassbinder foray into riotous comedy, with Kurt Raab starring as a once famous poet stricken with writer’s block who inadvertently assumes the persona of the prewar symbolist Stefan George.
High definition digital transfers of The American Soldier, Gods of the Plague, Mother Kusters Goes to Heaven and Satan’s Brew prepared by the Rainer Werner Fassbinder Foundation
High Definition (1080p) Blu-ray presentations of The American Soldier, Gods of the Plague, Mother Kusters Goes to Heaven and Satan’s Brew
Original uncompressed PCM mono 1.0 sound for all films
Optional English subtitles for all films
Exclusive 140-page collectors booklet containing archive articles and new writing by Jonathan Rosenbaum, Eric Rentschler, David Jenkins, Margaret Deriaz and Earl Jackson.
DISC ONE – The American Soldier & The Niklashausen Journey
Audio commentary by critic Tony Rayns on The American Soldier
Audio commentary by critic Olaf Möller on The Niklashausen Journey
Fassbinder Shoots Film No 8, a 1971 television documentary by Michael Ballhaus and Dieter Buchmann on Rainer Werner Fassbinder filming The American Soldier
Man in the Shadow, an exclusive new in-depth interview with Fassbinder’s collaborator Michael Fengler
Freedom or Death!, an exclusive new interview with Michael König on The Niklashausen Journey
DISC TWO – Gods of the Plague & Rio Das Mortes
Alter Ego: Harry Baer on Rainer Werner Fassbinder, a 40-minute interview with the star of Gods of the Plague
Taking Off, an exclusive new interview with Michael König on Rio Das Mortes
Original theatrical trailer for Gods of the Plague
DISC THREE – Mother Kusters Goes to Heaven & Fear of Fear
Audio commentary by critic Olaf Möller on Mother Kusters Goes to Heaven
Mother Kusters Goes to Heaven alternate ending
New interviews with Renate Leiffer, assistant director on Mother Kusters Goes to Heaven and Fear of Fear
New interview with writer Asta Scheib on Fear of Fear
Play It Again, Rainer! Fassbinder’s Musical Obsessions, a new video essay by Margaret Deriaz on the use of music in Fassbinder’s films.
DISC FOUR – Satan’s Brew
Audio commentary by critic Tony Rayns
The Culture Industry Needs Something Like Me: Views of Rainer Werner Fassbinder, a 1976 documentary portrait of the director by Gert Ellinghaus
Fassbinder: Love Without Demands, Christian Braad Thomsen’s feature-length 2015 documentary portrait of his friend Fassbinder and the people who worked with him.
Original theatrical trailer
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