Rio Das Mortes
Picture: B- Sound: C Extras: C- Film: B+
Not only was Fassbinder
exceptionally talented at off-beat filmmaking, but he also had a knack for
taking relatively simple storylines and turning them into rather extensive
outings. In Rio Das Mortes we are introduced to two friends that want to leave Germany in order to find a treasure that they believe is
hidden. However, the fiancé of the one
girl threatens to kill them both if they decide to go through with the
trip. While some might not be able to
turn this into much, Fassbinder takes this story and turns it into a bizarre
tale that involves our desires and willingness to make the things in our mind
Typically filmmakers would
have a hard time taking simplistic material and making it work for the whole
film. It is also fair to say that some
people have a hard time getting into a Fassbinder film, but that’s because they
operate in a slightly different way.
Somewhat slower, but they allow the viewer more time to identify with
the characters, not matter how bizarre.
The story takes time to set up and nothing is done too fast, which would
seem obvious. I suppose a good
comparison would be to Antonioni and films like L’Avventura or The Passenger.
Wellspring has been
releasing Fassbinder’s catalog onto DVD and they do a fine job with Rio Das Mortes. While there are very few supplements the
transfer looks good and the audio is adequate as well. The film is presented in
its original full-frame aspect ratio with yellow subtitles. Similar with their release of Fear of Fear,
the transfer is exceptionally clean, but suffers at time from a softness and
slight detail loss. The audio is a
simple monophonic Dolby Digital 2.0 presentation that works for the material
considering most will be reading the subtitles anyway. Those who can understand the German language
will not be too disappointed.
This is a particularly
great character study film, which comes highly recommended, but perhaps not as
a first introduction to Fassbinder. Fans of Jim Jarmusch might also enjoy
Fassbinder as well, especially those who likes Dead Man with Johnny Depp or Down
By Law, which was recently restored by Criterion and available through them
in a nice special edition.
- Nate Goss