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Directed by Rainer Werner Fassbinder

West Germany 1972 94 mins.

Fassbinder, who in his own way was always examining social norms and systems, here takes on the twin issues of explicit racism and love across generations, with his tale of the chance relationship between Moroccan guest worker Ali (El Hedi ben Salem) and aging, German-born housekeeper Emmi (Brigitte Mira), who meet in a bar when both are feeling depressed about their station in life. When their friends and families (among them Fassbinder himself as a lecherous boy- friend to one of Emmi’s daughters) learn of the relationship, each has a negative reaction, with actions ranging from outward rejection to humiliation. However, rather than focusing solely on the ugliness born of prejudice, Fassbinder focuses on Emmi and Ali’s love for each other, which takes on a poetic, hopeful tone for society in general. “For all his hatred of humanity, Fassbinder really loves his unlikely couple, and I think we wind up remembering this heartbreaking pair long after we’ve forgotten the plot or the argument.”—Jonathan Rosenbaum.

The Northwest Film Center recognizes and honors the Indigenous peoples of this region on whose ancestral lands the museum now stands. These include the Willamette Tumwater, Clackamas, Kathlemet, Molalla, Multnomah and Watlala Chinook Peoples and the Tualatin Kalapuya who today are part of the Confederated Tribes of Grand Ronde, and many other Native communities who made their homes along the Columbia River. We also want to recognize that Portland today is a community of many diverse Native peoples who continue to live and work here. We respectfully acknowledge and honor all Indigenous communities—past, present, future—and are grateful for their ongoing and vibrant presence.