Water Drops on Burning Rocks

This is a peculiar film. Written as a stage play by a German director Rainer Werner Fassbinder and directed by a french director Francois Ozon, this film is set in Germany but spoken in French. So although the men are speaking fluent French, at one point in the film the younger man is sporting lederhosen in a non-ironic way. It is also set in the seventies, around the time that Fassbinder was at his prime, so there are plenty of shag carpets, bell bottoms and weirdly fitting undergarments. It is a quirky drama that seems to have fallen flat for me. I don’t know if it was in the translation from German to French to English subtitles or the actors’ wooden performances or the maybe the fact it felt like a play the whole time or the characters’ motivations but I found it boring.

The story involves an older man who seduces a young man (with red hair) to have sex with him for the first time. He falls in love with the older man and moves in with him leaving his girlfriend. The story jumps forward several months to the point where the older man treats the younger man as a slave. He makes his lover undress him, fix him food and argue with him over everything. His ex-girlfriend comes by and picks him up when he is down. They have spent two days together having sex but his boyfriend comes back early and catches the girl in some form of undress. Meanwhile his transsexual girlfriend shows up and they all  wait on the older man like he some god. The younger man becomes depressed while the three other characters have a threesome. He decides that he is going to kill himself.

I think the main problem with the film is I didn’t understand why these people were so in love with this older man. He was mean, annoying, and pretty much an asshole. And yet these characters could not get enough of him. Was it because of his sexual ways? That is what the film seems to suggest, but I know from experience that even if the sex is amazing no person would have the gall to stay in a relationship like that without him having some redeeming qualities outside of his member. I guess I can’t relate and therefore don’t care about these characters.

 

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