Brigitte Mira in The Enigma of Kaspar Hauser

The entire of the Enigma of Kaspar Hauser by Werner Herzog is predicated on the weirdo acting skills of its star, Bruno Schleinstein, known universally as Bruno S.  Schleinstein, who died in 2010, was something of an ideal subject, being individual, compelling and talented in ways that trained actors can only dream of — although the downside of this is that viewers spend far too long watching his antics, at the expense of the main dramatic goals.

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Brigitte Mira in Satan’s Brew

Satansbraten is a film of highs – and when each high is reached in terms of comedy or situation, it is played out for ten minutes, until everything seems calm again, and it’s then that we receive the next shock – usually in the form of a moment of realisation for Kranz. One of these comes when Ernst is upset later on, sad that his mother may be ill, and Kranz is suddenly reminded he has parents of his own. This is a great opportunity for him to get some more money, so off he goes to rob them.

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Brigitte Mira in Mother Kusters Goes to Heaven

The subject of work features in Fassbinder, but a 1960s political education in Europe featured much more Marxism than it does these days. From the many office scenes in World on a Wire, to the fairground in Fox and His Friends, and the amazing scenes of draftsmen at work in Why Does Her R Run Amok — and not forgetting the entire of Eight Hours Are Not a Day (Acht Stunden sind kein Tag) we regularly see the minutiae of labour in Fassbinder films – and here so, once more at the start of Mother Kusters goes to heaven.

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