Lili Marleen

  • 1981
  • Movie
  • R
  • Drama, War

Fassbinder was surely one of the world's most prolific filmmakers, producing an enormous body of work before his early death, which ironically occurred as he was editing film. With such a large output there were bound to be a few pictures that fell short of the director's normally high quality, LILI MARLEEN being an example. "The story of a song!" claimed...read more

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Fassbinder was surely one of the world's most prolific filmmakers, producing an enormous body of work before his early death, which ironically occurred as he was editing film. With such a large output there were bound to be a few pictures that fell short of the director's normally high

quality, LILI MARLEEN being an example. "The story of a song!" claimed the advertising copy, which is more or less truth in advertising. "Lili Marleen" was a song made famous in Germany by Lale Andersen and later Marlene Dietrich. It was very popular with the German forces during WWII. However,

Fassbinder's film has little to do with the true story of the song. The film opens in 1938 with the lovely and accomplished Schygulla, a cabaret singer in Zurich. She discovers that boyfriend Giannini, a Swiss Jew, is not only a musical composer but also a member of the underground resistance

movement. During a trip to Germany, her song becomes a hit, and no less than the Fuhrer himself wants to meet her. She becomes a big star, while Giannini's father blocks her return to Switzerland. Giannini sneaks into Berlin and meets once more with his now-famous lover. She becomes blacklisted

and is forced to leave the country while Giannini is arrested. After the war, they meet once more, but he is now married and well on his way to success. Though Fassbinder's camerawork is excellent, including some allusions to the famous German studio UFA, his themes are never really developed. The

political and social messages so often found in his work give way to more melodramatic storytelling. Schygulla, who is usually a shining performer, is spotty here. Her singing makes one wonder how the song got to be such a hit.

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  • Released: 1981
  • Rating: R
  • Review: Fassbinder was surely one of the world's most prolific filmmakers, producing an enormous body of work before his early death, which ironically occurred as he was editing film. With such a large output there were bound to be a few pictures that fell short o… (more)

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