The Little Chaos (Rainer Werner Fassbinder, 1967, West Germany)

    The Little Chaos is the third short by Rainer Werner Fassbinder, and the second surviving short. Starring Fassbinder himself along with two other performers, the film introduces us to our main characters quickly. The three of them arrive at a woman's apartment, and each tries to scam her in different ways. We end up at an apartment where Fassbinder's character is reading from a book by the French essayist and novelist Henry de Montherlant. The apartment is decorated in a scrapbook style, with various posters and images. There seems to be a romantic connection between Marite Greiselis's and Christopher Roser's characters.

    The film then transitions to an actual robbery, where Fassbinder enters the apartment of a woman and forces her in at gunpoint along with the other two characters. He asks his associate in the gang to put a Wagner record on her turntable - "Very cool indeed." He asks the woman to keep standing up and down and then proceeds to hit her. Despite being so early on in Fassbinder's career, this film exhibits many of the obsessions that would come to dominate his work. Notably, his character's interaction with the victim of his crimes shows a streak of sadism/masochism, a theme that would reappear throughout his work. Fassbinder's character also fashions himself based upon the Hollywood trope of the thief, and this self-reflexive quality would reappear throughout his work. Notably, when Fassbinder finally gets the money, he says that he is going to go to the cinema. 

    The trio leaves in a rush from the apartment to the sound of a 60s rock song. The Little Chaos is a fun and interesting work for Fassbinder completists, and worth watching to see a hint of the director's early obsessions. Those interested in German cinema should also give it a watch.



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