Love Is Colder Than Death (film)

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Love Is Colder Than Death
Liebe ist kälter.jpg
Theatrical release poster
Directed by Rainer Werner Fassbinder
Produced by Peer Raben
Thomas Schamoni
Written by Rainer Werner Fassbinder
Starring Rainer Werner Fassbinder
Ulli Lommel
Hanna Schygulla
Ingrid Caven
Music by Holger Münzer
Peer Raben
Cinematography Dietrich Lohmann
Release dates
26 June 1969 (Berlin International Film Festival)
Running time
88 minutes
Country West Germany
Language German
Budget DEM 95,000

Love is Colder Than Death (German: Liebe ist kälter als der Tod) is a 1969 German black-and-white film directed by Rainer Werner Fassbinder, his first feature film. The cinematographer Dietrich Lohmann and the cast as an ensemble won an award at the German Film Awards in 1970.


Petty hood Franz (Fassbinder), who at the start of the movie refuses to join the Syndicate. He then meets the handsome young thug Bruno (Lommel), who has been ordered by the Syndicate to follow him, and gives him his Munich address (Heßstraße 129).

Bruno eventually goes to the address but is told he has moved; he eventually locates him through Franz's girlfriend Joanna (Schygulla) --Bruno is her pimp, but she talks about their getting married. Bruno discovers Franz is hiding out from a Turk who thinks he killed his brother. Bruno offers to solve the problem by killing the Turk, which he does at a restaurant they all three visit; as they leave, Bruno also shoots the waitress. Franz is picked up by the police for both killings, but they have no evidence, so they let him go after a day.

The three of them then plan a bank robbery together, but the police show up outside the bank and Bruno is killed in a shootout; Franz and Joanna get away in a car, and after they elude pursuit she tells him she had tipped the cops off about the robbery. He says "Nutte" [whore] and keeps driving as the film fades to white.[1][2][3]


The reception was generally negative, and the film was even booed at the 19th Berlin International Film Festival in 1969.[4] Today, it is seen as a fine example of Fassbinder's early style, with a heavy 'nouvelle vague' influence.

The film is dedicated to "Claude Chabrol, Éric Rohmer, Jean-Marie Straub, Linio, and Cuncho". The last two refer to the main characters in Damiano Damiani's 1966 film A Bullet for the General. Ulli Lommel's styling (and also the poster artwork) is inspired by Alain Delon in Le Samouraï.



  1. ^ Thomas Elsaesser, Fassbinder's Germany: History, Identity, Subject (Amsterdam University Press, 1996; ISBN 9053560599), p. 267.
  2. ^ Wallace Steadman Watson, Understanding Rainer Werner Fassbinder: Film as Private and Public Art (Univ. of South Carolina Press, 1996; ISBN 1570030790), p. 69.
  3. ^ Laurence Kardish (ed.), Rainer Werner Fassbinder (Museum of Modern Art, 1997; ISBN 0870701096), p. 42.
  4. ^ [1]

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