Sunday, 23 May 2010
everyday madness: WHY DOES HERR R. RUN AMOK?
Pressures of modern society upon an individual and the resulting dehumanizing effect are expertly captured in this low-key, little-known film.
Kurt(the excellent KURT RAAB) is a meek, withdrawn man. We witness his dull, soul-destroying office work and unfulfilling family life.
From successive scenes filled with brainless small talk and devoid of any sign of genuine emotional contact grows a sense of profound unease.
Kurt goes to see a doctor who declares there's nothing physically wrong with him, and merely advices him to quit smoking. Seemingly all is well, until...
When the final twist comes, the film-makers don't give any assessment of the events. They don't judge.
They're there merely to document the goings-on.
So the viewer is left to make out for himself, WHY DOES HERR R. RUN AMOK?
The style and performances aren't as formal or theatrical as in other Fassbinder works of the period.
In fact, WHY DOES HERR R. RUN AMOK?, doesn't feel much like a Fassbinder picture, despite having a lot of his regular cast. Actress Hanna Shygulla even claims Fassbinder had nothing to do with directing this film. That may well be. But it doesn't make WHY DOES HERR R. RUN AMOK? any less brilliant.
There's no extra-diegetic music and the camera-work is hand-held, documentary-style.
WHY DOES HERR R. RUN AMOK? is basically a Dogme-style film, but made nearly 30 years before the Dogme movement.
Fassbinder and Michael Fengler also co-authored the ambitious and uneven riff on Godard's WEEKEND, THE NIKLASHAUSEN JOURNEY.