It is perhaps a mark of set hierarchy that the character of Billi, the makeup artist, features large throughout Beware of a Holy Whore. She is the first one to speak (after Werner Schroeter’s weirdo Goofy joke) and as an anchor for the silliness and pretensions of the others, she is reliable.

 

The character of Ulli Lommel who says at some point in Beware of a Holy Whore that he will go on to direct his own films, has an interesting point; because although we discard it, Lommel himself, like many cast members here, did go on to direct their own films, and many of them. This includes Monica Teuber, must check out Magdalene.

Despite the feel of randomness to the film, and the clear statement that there is no one leading person, with the exception of Lou Castel the director, Billie the makeup artist, played by Monica Teuber (here ‘Monika Teuber’) is a, is almost a chorus like figure, in and out of the conversation and with a seeming protected status among the cast and crew.

Near the close of the film there is a strangely constructed and fairly orgiastic shot, in which Lou Castel watches over a large portion of the cast and crew, who lie semi-naked in a heap. Attractive as it seems, it feels unlikely that people would ever lie like this, but Fassbinder being Fassbinder, it stands for something much farther than the aesthetic. It’s an arbitrary mix of bodies and Marquad Bohm seems to find it quite ticklish. At this point the scenes become mysteriously short, unlike the long and involved scenes of the start, but this seems like cutting to conclude. Castel is hangdog, morose instead of violent and finally, in the ultimate insult, Ricky and Jeff are even refused drinks at the bar – an action which gets the barkeep attacked by Bohm.

Then there is a tiny scene in which Fassbinder ends himself laughing at Hannes Fuchs, who tries to stab him – is it real or is it rehearsal? – and one in which Ulli Lommel unloads himself to a typing Jeff – again – a matter of seconds.

These short scenes suggest that this film could go on for many more hours; each one is a snapshot of something much bigger.