Cruel and Kind: Ira Sachs on Fox and His Friends

Made when he was just twenty-nine, Rainer Werner Fassbinder’s twenty-second feature, Fox and His Friends, showcases the New German Cinema icon in front of the camera as a working-class gay man who wins the lottery and falls prey to a swindling, bourgeois boyfriend. This biting satire of class dynamics and the transactional nature of romance was Fassbinder’s first explicit depiction of homosexuality, and its cynical vision of gay life in 1970s West Germany led some critics to denounce it as degrading. In the clip below, excerpted from our just-released edition, director Ira Sachs (who co-curates the monthly Queer/Art/Film series at New York’s IFC Center) discusses Fassbinder’s controversial portrait of queer culture and the interplay between severity and empathy that made the film so groundbreaking.

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