Rotten Tomatoes
Cancel Movies Tv shows Shop News Showtimes

Katzelmacher

Released Oct 8, 1969 1h 30m Drama List
100% Tomatometer 11 Reviews 70% Audience Score 500+ Ratings In this unflinching German drama by Rainer Werner Fassbinder, a group of young slackers, including the couple Erich (Hans Hirschmuller) and Marie (Hanna Schygulla), spend most of their time hanging out in front of a Munich apartment building. When a Greek immigrant named Jorgos (played by Fassbinder), moves in, however, their aimless lives are shaken up. Soon new tensions arise both within the group and with Jorgos, particularly when Marie threatens to leave Erich for the outsider. Read More Read Less

Critics Reviews

View All (11) Critics Reviews
Noel Murray The Dissolve That's what Katzelmacher is: a punishment, via art, leveled at all the ignorant, egotistical racists Fassbinder had known. Rated: 3.5/5 Sep 4, 2013 Full Review Vincent Canby New York Times I've described the style of the film in some detail because it is so hypnotic and eventually so comic. Rated: 4/5 May 9, 2005 Full Review Jonathan Rosenbaum Chicago Reader There's less plot than usual, but the portraiture already seems firmly in place. Nov 19, 2002 Full Review Mark Seneviratne Vague Visages Fassbinder’s choice to cage them in such dreary settings is effective, with fancy camerawork and lavish production designs disposed of in the name of a style that is perfectly aligned with his thematic intentions. Mar 26, 2024 Full Review Christopher Long Movie Metropolis Shot in just over a week and provides the writer-director with a larger collection of personalities to send careening against each other. Rated: 9/10 Sep 9, 2013 Full Review Jeffrey M. Anderson Combustible Celluloid Fassbinder's second film feels rarely moves, but simmers with a kind of rancid, unnamable anger. Aug 21, 2008 Full Review Read all reviews

Audience Reviews

View All (24) audience reviews
Audience Member This early Fassbinder film concerns a group of dissatisfied and directionless young people who turn their attentions away from themselves and the relationships within their inner circle when a young Greek man arrives looking for work and lodging. Soon the group rumour mill goes into overdrive as they perceive the young man as an outsider and so demonise and persecute him. Another great character driven piece by the German maestro with the ugliest facets of human nature being explored as the members of the insular and narrow minded group start to spread rumours and make their prejudices known towards young Jorgos. After an innocuous chance meeting in the street with one of the women from the gang, the group's Chinese Whispers soon snowball to him having tried to rape her as well as other crimes such as him being a Communist. The men of the group then seize their opportunity to beat him up for crimes he isn't guilty of. Conformity, group hysteria and mobbing by the gang are all explored perceptively within Katzelmacher which makes it, unfortunately, ring all too true. Beautifully acted, perfectly framed and directed and with a gorgeous late 60's black and white which is icy cool and absolutely gorgeous. Look out for the scene of the young woman dancing. Highly recommended. Rated 4 out of 5 stars 02/19/23 Full Review Audience Member Fassbinder is clearly much more comfortable here as he deals with xenophobia and repression. Rated 3.5 out of 5 stars 02/01/23 Full Review Audience Member Hosting an intentionally broken narrative that makes the film all the more intoxicating, Katzelmacher plays like a fever dream on post-war Germany, rather than a relic from a by-gone era. While the film's plot is rather simple, director/writer Fassbinder (in only his second feature) makes the film profound through his dense focus on mis-en-scene, brave handling of weighty themes pertaining to sex and bigotry, and material that's both repellent and blackly humorous in a truly understanding way. A necessary jumping on point for Fassbinder, one of Germany's very best filmmakers. Note: The official English-Language-released version sports white subtitles that are difficult to see. Honestly, that is about the only flaw I can find in this otherwise masterful concoction. Rated 4.5 out of 5 stars 01/23/23 Full Review Audience Member Much of this film about the young, twentysomething bourgeoisie in West Germany--about the young, twentysomething, bourgeois West Germany--is boring, even though they're all about sex and money. That may well be part of the point. While the criticism here at first seems elementary, by the end it comes across as incisive. Watch it with or instead of The White Ribbon. Rated 3.5 out of 5 stars 01/24/23 Full Review Audience Member Fassbinder's second feature sees his career-long themes already in full-bloom. These characters are inhumanely cruel to each other, even as they maintain a posture of friendship. Of course, outsiders are treated especially inhumanely -- as demonstrated here in the way that the several couples that populate the film (and apartment block) react hostilely to the Greek immigrant (referred to by the slang word, Katzelmacher, which seems to refer to sexual behaviour as well as foreign worker status). Fassbinder implies that money drives all human relationships and shows us this in a number of prostitution-like relationships. To get us to focus on such themes, everyone is using emotionless Brechtian delivery here and the cinematography suggests a translated play (everyone faces the audience). But there are also purely cinematic devices (a recurring tracking shot involving pairs of characters strolling arm in arm) in use. I like Fassbinder, so I might find this more engaging than the average viewer -- but if you like this one, there are further masterpieces to discover. Rated 4 out of 5 stars 02/04/23 Full Review Audience Member One of Fassbinder's first films is this cynical story that, even though not remarkable, was already an early indication of his talent as a filmmaker - something visible in the way he combines the naturalistic style of the Nouvelle Vague with a detached, Brechtian mode of acting. Rated 3 out of 5 stars 02/14/23 Full Review Read all reviews
Katzelmacher

My Rating

Read More Read Less POST RATING WRITE A REVIEW EDIT REVIEW

Cast & Crew

Shame 65% 88% Shame Joanna 20% 50% Joanna The Touch 64% 39% The Touch The Fixer 56% 62% The Fixer Kings of the Road 100% 88% Kings of the Road Discover more movies and TV shows. View More

Movie Info

Synopsis In this unflinching German drama by Rainer Werner Fassbinder, a group of young slackers, including the couple Erich (Hans Hirschmuller) and Marie (Hanna Schygulla), spend most of their time hanging out in front of a Munich apartment building. When a Greek immigrant named Jorgos (played by Fassbinder), moves in, however, their aimless lives are shaken up. Soon new tensions arise both within the group and with Jorgos, particularly when Marie threatens to leave Erich for the outsider.
Director
Rainer Werner Fassbinder
Producer
Peer Raben
Screenwriter
Rainer Werner Fassbinder
Distributor
New Yorker Films
Production Co
Antiteater-X-Film
Genre
Drama
Original Language
German
Release Date (Theaters)
Oct 8, 1969, Original
Release Date (Streaming)
Aug 2, 2017
Runtime
1h 30m
Sound Mix
Mono
Aspect Ratio
35mm