VIDEO ESSAY: WILDE AT HEART

This entry was posted on August 17th, 2020

By Calin Boto

Queers, fags, dandies, daddies. The jet-set and the outlaws. Failed revolutionaries and old money. All living together in Fassbinder’s filmography, sometimes in the very same movie.

If anything, the cherry bomb auteur of the New German Cinema was a connoisseur of queer culture, cruising its past and novelties; a man of dandyism and fetishes, irreconcilable satire, touching melodramas. Yet, however costumed, queerness in the nude meant sadness alone in his films. Might be why we don’t have queer heroes from his work, only people trapped in their sexuality. Not parading but carrying their crosses. That effects in death being such a peculiar theme in these movies – sometimes a visa and a love letter, how Querelle uses it, other times a mockery, as in Satan’s Brew. Or a relief. Whatever its resonance, death is portrayed as erotic. Each man killing the things he loves is not merely ideational, something to reflect upon but, via Oscar Wilde, an act which we consume with immense voyeurism.