Bil’s rating (out of 5): BB. West Germany/France, 1982. Planet Film, Albatros Filmproduktion, Gaumont. Screenplay by Rainer Werner Fassbinder, Burkhard Driest, based on the novel Querelle de Brest by Jean Genet. Cinematography by Xaver Schwarzenberger, Josef Vavra. Produced by Dieter Schidor, Sam Waynberg. Music by Peer Raben. Production Design by Rolf Zehetbauer. Costume Design by Barbara Baum, Monika Jacobs. Film Editing by Rainer Werner Fassbinder, Juliane Lorenz.
Obscure, difficult adaptation of Jean Genet’s play marks the end of prolific filmmaker Rainer Werner Fassbinder’s fifteen-year career. Brad Davis plays a catnippy sailor who blows into town and becomes the apple of every eye. His sexual exploits are varied and many, but his true feelings lie in the relationship he develops with a sadistic suitor who abuses him and steals his heart. Davis’s obsession with newfound feelings of love take him past the point of no return on the path of destruction. Also featuring Jeanne Moreau as a brothel madam who is married to Querelle’s lover, the purposely stylized sets (interiors stand in for outdoor scenes) are so theatrical they start to feel claustrophobic, and the entire film is devoid of any of Fassbinder’s trademark energy. The emotional tenderness that made Ali: Fear Eats The Soul or Fear Of Fear so good isn’t anywhere to be found here, but watch it if you just want to see Davis taking it up the ass from a big black man (cause I did).