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Veronika Voss

Veronika Voss

Director:Rainer Werner
Release Date:1982

By Bret McCabe | Posted 4/30/2008

This 1982 drama wasn t merely writer/director/force of nature Rainer Werner Fassbinder s penultimate movie and final masterpiece before his death later the same year, but it also effectively ended the first wave of New German Cinema of 1970s directors re-examining Germany s past. The platinum-blond Rosel Zech stars as the titular actress, a star from Germany s state-run film company in the 1930s and 40s who has, in the post-war 50s, fallen to drugs and an overbearing female doctor who manipulates her patients. Based on the real tragic life of German actress Sybille Schmitz, Voss is as close as Fassbinder ever came to truly mainstream filmmaking--it is, by far, his glossiest movie --but even within its stately accessibility lies both the director s longtime fascinations (the permeable membranes of alienation, identity, and history) and deadpan cynicism. Shot in a wide-screen, almost glittery black and white, Fassbinder floods his images with opulent kitsch of fallen glamour and nostalgic camera decisions, such as animated wipes or iris fades. Expectedly bleak but scintillatingly cinematic, Veronika Voss stands alongside Chinatown as one of the most accomplished realizations of the recent past with the tools and thoughts of the present ever made.

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