New Releases: Two rare Rainer Fassbinder films on DVD

I Only Want You to Love Me movie scene

Vitus Zeplichal takes a train ride to potential happiness in I Only Want You to Love Me.

Olive Films gave two movies by the late, great German filmmaker Rainer Werner Fassbinder (The Marriage of Maria Braun) their digital debuts in the U.S. The dramas Despair (1978) and the TV movie I Only Want You to Love Me (1976) were released on DVD on June 7, 2011.

Adapted by Tom Stoppard (Shakespeare in Love) from the novel by Vladimir Nabokov, drama Despair is set in early 1930s Germany against the backdrop of the Nazis’ rise to power. It’s here that we meet Russian emigrant and successful chocolate magnate Hermann Hermann (Dirk Bogarde, Death in Venice) as he starts to experience a growing mental breakdown. Hermann soon encounters Felix (Klaus Löwitsch), an unemployed laborer, whom he believes to be his doppelganger. Trying to maintain his sanity, Hermann hatches an elaborate plot, which he believes will free him of all his worries and nightmares.

Fassbinder wrote and directed I Only Want You to Love Me, a true-crime story that he adapted from the book Life Sentence by Klaus Antes and Christiane Erhardt. Having grown up in a small town with a domineering mother and a father who never believed in his worth, a young newlywed (Vitus Zeplichal) moves to the big city with his bride (Elke Aberle) and starts anew. The pressures of work, family and finances become too much for him, and he experiences a nervous breakdown.

The I Only Want You to Love Me DVD includes a bonus feature: Robert Fischer’s 2010 Of Love and Constraints, an hour-long examination of the film and its production.

The two films, priced at $24.95 each on DVD, were shot by highly regarded cinematographer Michael Ballhaus, who’s best known on these shores for his work on Goodfellas, Raging Bull and other films by Martin Scorsese (Shutter Island).

 

Buy or Rent Despair
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Buy or Rent I Only Want You to Love Me
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About Laurence

Founder and editor Laurence Lerman saw Alfred Hitchcock’s North by Northwest when he was 13 years old and that’s all it took. He has been writing about film and video for more than a quarter of a century for magazines, anthologies, websites and most recently, Video Business magazine, where he served as the Reviews Editor for 15 years.