Subject: I have found a DVD that I think you would enjoy
|Fox and His Friends|
Actors: Rainer Werner Fassbinder, Peter Chatel, Karlheinz Böhm, Adrian Hoven, Christiane Maybach
Director: Rainer Werner Fassbinder
Genres: Indie & Art House, Drama, Mystery & Suspense
A down-and-out down-on-his-luck homosexual carnival worker wins the lottery and along with it some new friends. Unfortunately a charming scheming lover fleeces him of his newfound money. Studio: Genius Products Inc Relea... more »
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Powerful film & excellent DVD transfer
J. Clark | metro New York City | 08/07/2002
(5 out of 5 stars)
"FOX AND HIS FRIENDS is one of Fassbinder's most poignant and accessible works. The story and performances are direct, and the look of the film is polished. Yet it also deals powerfully with some of his central themes, such of the search for love, and exploitation in its many forms (both homosexual and heterosexual). Wellspring Media has released a pristine DVD of the film, from a carefully restored print. If offers both a vivid new Dolby 5.1 soundtrack, as well as the original stereo, plus filmographies and Web links.Fassbinder is very effective at shattering, or at least twisting, stereotypes in his films, whether they concern people from a "different" class (MERCHANT OF FOUR SEASONS), race (ALI: FEAR EATS THE SOUL), age (MOTHER KUSTERS GOES TO HEAVEN), or physical ability (CHINESE ROULETTE). In FOX AND HIS FRIENDS he focuses on homosexual men, in one of the first films ever to depict their lives - warts and all - as complex lived experience. (Of course, in the years since FOX's 1975 release, film has come a long way in exploring the diversity of homosexual experience.) Fassbinder made only a handful of other films dealing with homosexual, lesbian, bisexual, and transgender (GLBT) people: 1972's THE BITTER TEARS OF PETRA VON KANT, 1978's IN A YEAR OF 13 MOONS, and 1982's QUERELLE. All are worth seeing, and each remains among his most controversial works.Since some people consider FOX to be homophobic, it's worth noting that there are perhaps as many unscrupulous straight characters (including Fox's new lover's mother and father - who swindle him for the "noble" purpose of keeping open their business, which employs 70 people) as homosexual ones. Also, Fox's bar buddies include several caring and likable homosexual and transgender characters, who represent a diversity of ages, body types, and demeanors (some are "straight-acting," others love to camp it up). And Fassbinder, in his most demanding role as an actor, gives his most nuanced performance. There are many complex layers to Franz "Fox" Biberkopf, and Fassbinder explores them all, from street-smarts to sweetness to pain to defiance to despair, and more.When I first saw FOX, I was horrified by the final scene (although it is vintage Fassbinder). Now, after watching it again, I have to wonder if the film actually ends inside Fox's mind (for his sake, I hope so). That metro/subway stop is unnaturally - eerily - clean and quiet. Everything is blue and white, even the clothes worn by all the characters who pass through. Yet this comes at the end of one of Fassbinder's most naturalistic films; nothing earlier is as stylized. So, is this just a nightmare vision? (But as a friend noted, if you are going to include one dream state in a film - and make it the final scene - be sure the audience understands the ambiguity.) Has Fox learned, from his devastating experiences, that the glitzy "lifestyle" he has just lost was what was destroying him? So maybe - just maybe - Fox is ready to begin putting himself back together... if the final scene is just a nightmare."
An overlooked Fassbinder gem!
J. Clark | 07/29/2002
(5 out of 5 stars)
"This is one of Fassbinder's funniest and most heartbreaking films. Playing the title role himself, Fassbinder delivers an unforgettable performance as Fox--a directionless carnival worker who finds himself lured into a relationship with an upper-class German man after winning the lottery. A very visually striking and emotionally engaging film. Certainly one of Fassbinder's bests.As for the DVD transfer, it's as good as if not better than the version I saw on VHS."
A Gripping and Poignant Gay Tragedy; BoundTo Be A Classic
G. Balmes | westport, washington United States | 09/10/2004
(5 out of 5 stars)
""Fox, a bumbling but sincere and big hearted unsophisicated carvinal worker who's job is terminate when his boyfriend, the carnival owner, is arrested by the German police. Out of a Job, Fox wins the 500,000 DM lottery and finds a new group of friends who pounce on the oppertunity to swindle him out of his winnings. His new b/f selects the apartment and furniture, purchased from the b/f's friends gallery; new clothes, a trip to Morocco, and a loan to the b/f's parents failing business drain poor Fox'es wealth.
As the film progress you cannot help but to have sympathy for Fox; and all his attempts to win the love and affection of his goldigging lover and unscrupulous friends. Let me warn you; this is not a "feel good" film; but rather be ready to be appalled by how far the depth of human cruelty can decend.
It's beautifully directed, the scenes flow smoothly, art direction and cinematography are all first rate with no flaws to distract you from the quality of this production; and Fassbinder plays his characther so convincingly, I wondered how this inept individual (Fox) could produce such a movie. Made circa 1974 but certainly not dated in focus and depth.
The conclusion will break your heart; and if you havn't devlopment a sense of compassion and sympathy for Fassbinder's character by the end of this film, you have ice water in your veins. A gripping and poignant gay tragedy; worthy of your conceration and as an addition to your collection of gay works.
Thankyou for reading this review; I hope it enlightened you on this truely magnificant story.
"Everyone's to be had..." (Fox)
Jack Malebranche | Portland, OR | 10/25/2004
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Fassbinder himself exudes a natural impish charm as the streetwise ex-carny Franz Biberkopf, who loses his gig as "Fox the Speaking Head" when his carnival barker boyfriend is arrested for tax evasion as Fox and Friends opens. Down and out, and unable to borrow a few marks from his perpetually inebriated sister, he gets into the significantly older Max's car for a quick trick. Before getting down to business, Fox manages to scam the local florist for enough cash to buy that last prayer for the hopeless, a lottery ticket.
But wait, old girl, it just so happens that Fox has purchased the winning ticket...
Max (Karl-Heinz Bohm) cuts a truly Mephistophelean character as an antiques dealer who seems less interested in sex than in watching the predictable machinations of human nature with a jaded eye and a knowing smirk. After befriending the ill-mannered, working class Fox, Max throws him to his snobbish, affected, status-obsessed "friends" - after letting it slip that Fox has recently come into quite a bit of money. Fox puts the moves on Eugen, who he describes to his bar buddies as "posh and a little prissy". Fox soon finds that while his "natural intelligence" gets him through the day in his usual social sphere, he is outclassed among his new friends. Seeing an opportunity to save the family business, Eugen begins to "assist" the fish-out-of-water Fox in spending his newfound wealth.
Fox's old drinking buddies at the grungy neighborhood homo watering hole speak for the audience, warning Fox to save his money and stick to what he knows. And Max, though certainly the instigator behind Fox's growing troubles - seems to half heartedly hope that Fox turns things around and comes through as a street-smart underdog.
While Fox and Friends is based on a culture-clash cliché, watching it played out amongst homosexuals in 1975 Berlin was a pleasure. There's a scrappy realness to the lower class characters, and a comical superficiality and pretension to the upper-middle class characters - who seem to be "positively aghast" at the smallest infraction of etiquette. Further, homosexuality never becomes the central issue. The film stays true to the core theme of class disparity. However, both the speed at which the story develops and the legal instability of Fox's connection to his prissy partner do seem to comment on homosexual relationships.
Fox and Friends is far more natural and less stylized than Fassbinder's Querelle, however, there are strange, surreal moments when artificial theatricality prevails over the realistic, straightforward filmmaking that makes the rest of the film believable. Whereas Querelle feels like an erotic dream, Fox and Friends is grounded in the real. Some might find the oddball touches and vignettes out of place, but they also give the film a certain sparkle and symbolism that make it special."