Bil’s rating (out of 5): BBB
Original title: In Einem Jahr Mit 13 Monden
Alternate title: In A Year With 13 Moons
West Germany, 1978. Filmverlag der Autoren, Pro-ject Filmproduktion, Tango Film. Screenplay by Rainer Werner Fassbinder. Cinematography by Rainer Werner Fassbinder. Produced by Rainer Werner Fassbinder. Music by Peer Raben. Production Design by Franz Vacek. Film Editing by Rainer Werner Fassbinder, Juliane Lorenz.
For Rainer Werner Fassbinder, making films was more akin to today’s bloggers than anyone who currently turns a camera on their fears and obsessions. His reaction to not only the outside world but his own internal struggle often took the form of the tortured souls in his intimate chamber pieces, with this one a particularly dark look at loneliness and rejection that he filmed not long after his own lover had committed suicide. Volker Spengler is excellent as desperate Erwin, who reacts to his beloved telling him that he would be better off as a woman by heading to Casablanca (site of another tragic love story) and having a sex change operation. When she returns as Elvira, her man leaves her and Elvira is alone to fend for herself, which is not something that her emotionally fragile state can handle. Not all audiences will react well to the lengthy scenes of dialogue, particularly as they have plenty of emotion but create little conflict between characters worth savouring, but the stylish settings and Fassbinder’s unwavering gaze at the naked soul of human unhappiness is impressive.