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FESTIVALS Germany / Denmark

Fassbinder comes back home with To Love without Demands


- With a travel schedule of 30 international film festivals, Christian Braad Thomsen’s documentary on the German director will also screen at Munich

Fassbinder comes back home with To Love without Demands
Rainer Werner Fassbinder with Christian Braad Thomsen (© Dino Raymond Hansen)

One of the most widely touring Danish films on the current festival circuit, Danish director Christian Braad Thomsen’s documentary Fassbinder – To Love without Demands, will also screen at Filmfest München - The Munich International Film Festival (25 June-4 July). “Obviously, to me, it is the most important festival after Berlin – it was Fassbinder’s own city, where he also died,” said Thomsen, who will attend the event. 

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Thomsen was a close friend of Rainer Werner Fassbinder’s (1945-1982) ever since they met at the 1969 Berlinale, where the German director presented his first film, Love Is Colder Than Death. “It was then mercilessly booed. I, for my part, experienced the film as if it were the first film in the world – at a time when the language of cinema had degenerated into commercial clichés, it had now been invented anew,” he recalled. 

Munich is the 30th festival that the film will visit after its world premiere in the Panorama Dokumente section of this year’s Berlin International Film Festival; besides most of western and eastern Europe, Thomsen’s second documentary on Fassbinder (after Rainer Werner Fassbinder/1975) has screened, or will unspool, in the US (New York and San Francisco), Argentina, Brazil, Colombia, Mexico, Australia, Hong Kong and Korea. 

It is built around footage that Thomsen shot with Fassbinder in the 1970s, and which has not previously been released. “It took me 32 years to realise how I could use it. Here, Fassbinder is more open and vulnerable than ever, and his production madness seems to be a puzzle even to himself; still, he 
developed confidence and integrity so that he could later make up to five films a year,” explained Thomsen, who last saw the director three weeks before his death.

Himself a writer, director, producer and arthouse film distributor, Thomsen has signed several award-winning features and documentaries, most recently Blues for Montmartre (2011). ”Love Is Colder Than Death
 could easily be a headline for his production as a whole, yet he created a love stronger than death in those who came close to him,” concluded Thomsen, who has also written books about him, Alfred Hitchcock and the French New Wave.

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