Rainer Werner Maria Fassbinder (May 31, 1945 – June 10, 1982) was a German movie director, screenwriter and actor. He is considered one of the most important representatives of the New German Cinema.
He maintained a frenetic pace in film-making. In a professional career that lasted less than fifteen years, Fassbinder completed 40 feature length films; two television film series; three short films; four video productions; twenty-four stage plays and four radio plays; and 36 acting roles in his own and others’ films. He also worked as an actor (film and theater), author, cameraman, composer, designer, editor, producer and theater manager.
Underlying Fassbinder’s work was a strong provocative current. His phenomenal creative energy when working contrasted violently with a wild, self-destructive libertinism that earned him a reputation as the enfant terrible of the New German Cinema, as well as being its central figure. He had tortured personal relationships with the actors and technicians around him who formed a surrogate family. However, his pictures demonstrate his deep sensitivity to social outsiders and his hatred of institutionalized violence. He ruthlessly attacked both German bourgeois society and the larger limitations of humanity.
Fassbinder died at the age of 37 from heart failure resulting from a lethal interaction between sleeping pills and cocaine. His death is often considered to mark the end of the New German Cinema.