“The Bridegroom, the Comedienne and the Pimp” and other short films

This may be the most exciting and revealing program in the Film Center’s entire Rainer Werner Fassbinder retrospective. It includes Fassbinder’s two earliest surviving shorts, City Tramp (1966) and Little Chaos (1967), to be shown without subtitles, and a subtitled 1977 interview with the filmmaker–none of which I’ve seen. But I can’t recommend highly enough the selections I have seen: Jean-Marie Straub and Daniele Huillet’s 23-minute The Bridegroom, the Comedienne and the Pimp (1968) is a multifaceted poetic provocation (starring Fassbinder as the pimp) that consists of only a dozen shots, one of them an 11-minute condensation of a 1926 play by Ferdinand Bruckner staged by Straub. Also a startling eye-opener is Fassbinder’s searingly and touchingly confessional episode from the 1978 sketch film Germany in Autumn, which shows him with his lover and his mother and is probably the most candid of all his self-portraits. Film Center, Art Institute, Columbus Drive at Jackson, Sunday, June 22, 4:00, 312-443-3737. –Jonathan Rosenbaum

Art accompanying story in printed newspaper (not available in this archive): film still.