Babs, the production assistant, who sets the entire tone of the film in the first shot, with her bored and laconic bitching about the others (‘this place is crawling with gays’) is played by Margarethe von Trotta — cast as a typical period Chelsea Girl, a glamorous young and idle person.  Somehow, Fassbinder feels, what we should be seeing is hard work, because that is what it takes to make films; and yet all we have is indolence, punctuated with an undisguised sexuality that pops to the surface in every character, whether they like it or not.

Along with the other Chelsea girls, Margarethe von Trotta’s shots pretty much control the first scene of Beware of a Holy Whore, as it’s these bitching women that we return to the most. Everything, including the way that Fassbinder shouts at her, serves to remind us that film is a cruel place – holy to some, but generally cruel.

One of the most timeless scenes in Beware of a Holy Whore shows Lou Castel and Margarethe von Trotta driving to the set, smoking and chewing a little conversational fat. I like it because it is typical of its era, in terms of the music, and I guess because it reminds me of Godard and a hundred other period filmmakers, who show in colour and in light, the seriousness of youth in a beautiful world, in which they are surrounded by marvels – which include the car and the cigarettes.

These days, this sort of thing is presented much more hedonistically, and that’s with good reason; for a generation so au fait with Marxist thought, Capitalist riches must have seemed a serious seduction, to be enjoyed on an analytical basis.

‘Why don’t we get married? We could go to Peru’ suggest Castel – and he is technically correct – it is all available to this generation. I think this partially explains their fascination with gangsters; it could be because gangsters acquire their wealth legitimately in a Marxist sort of way; merely because there has to be something suspect about material wealth to begin with, so acquisition of it must be suspect too. I think this is why from Godard onwards, whether they are playing gangsters or not, European youth in such films at least dress and act like gangsters – which there is a lot of here.