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Rio Das Mortes
Germany 1970
Directed by Rainer Werner Fassbinder
Running time 84 minutes
Rated G

Reviewed by
Bernard Hemingway
1 stars


Rio Das Mortes shares some qualities with the anti-aesthetic of Warhol/Morrisey films – loose plot, deadpan irony, offhand camera work, lumpy editing, token acting and cheap sets - the whole thing looking like a skin flic with its clothes on – except Fassbinder's version is so toned down as to be boring.

Hanna Schygulla sports some cringe-worthy '70s fashion in this story from an idea credited to Fassbinder AD, Volker Schlöndorff, about two aimless young men who to go to South America's Rio das Mortes region (which in reality is in Brazil although in the film the main characters are planning to head to Peru) in search of hidden treasure.

Originally filmed for television in 16mm it is an effort that, particularly considering fellow  filmmaker Werner Herzog was on location in Peru filming, Aguirre, the Wrath of God, about a doomed 16th century Spanish conquistador searching for treasure in the Peruvian jungle, is a egregiously slapdash affair (not surprisingly as the candle-burning-at-both-ends Fassbinder made nine feature films between 1970 and 1971)  that only die-hard Fassbinder fans will sit through.

 

 

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