Fox and His Friends

For those who prefer their trenchant class commentary served with a side of beefcake, Rainer Werner Fassbinder’s Fox and His Friends drops a rags-to-riches Cinderella tale into the singular milieu of the 1970s Munich gay scene. After a blue-collar bathroom cruiser and erstwhile circus freak (played with deep empathy by Fassbinder himself) wins a small fortune on the lottery, the sudden boost in social status that this fortune affords places him among company far more treacherous than the crooks, queens, and hustlers he knew on the street.

With painterly compositions (featuring a cheekily phallocentric mise-en-scène) and a brilliant tone at once deadpan and melodramatic, Fox and His Friends extracts curious humor and sincere humanity from a fall to ruin as heartbreaking as it is ultimately predictable. You’re likely to watch this nightmare of a love story through parted fingers, waiting to flinch.

Dir. Rainer Werner Fassbinder, 1975, 35mm, 123 min.

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