Rio das Mortes (film)

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Rio das Mortes
Directed by Rainer Werner Fassbinder
Written by Rainer Werner Fassbinder
Starring Hanna Schygulla, Michael König, Günther Kaufmann
Music by Peer Raben
Cinematography Dietrich Lohmann
Release date
February 15, 1971 (TV)
Running time
84 min.
Country Germany
Language German

Rio das Mortes is a 1971 color film written and directed by Rainer Werner Fassbinder. One of the early Fassbinder films it stars Hanna Schygulla as Hanna, Michael König as Michael/Mike and Günther Kaufmann as Gunther.

Plot summary[edit]

Mike and Gunther lead a boring life in Munich. Hanna, Mike’s girl friend, wants to get married but he is not interested. The two friends get hold of a treasure map of the Rio das Mortes area and decide to set out to find it in Peru. They are looking for freedom and adventure. Against Hanna’s opposition, the car is sold, and the two men try to raise money. Their ignorance and clumsiness seems to lead to failure, but eventually, by luck, they find a sponsor. In the final scene, at the Munich airport, a rejected Hanna is about to shoot them as they walk to the airplane.


This is Fassbinder’s 8th film, one that as a TV film did not receive much attention. It is listed as a comedy and gives a biting commentary about the lives of common people in urban West Germany at that time. Fassbinder gives credit to Volker Schlöndorff for the idea of the plot. The film has been criticized for sloppiness and poor character development while the acting is commended.[1] The ignorance of the two adventurers is underlined by the fact that the actual Rio das Mortes is located in Brazil, not Peru and that they try to find Mayan treasure there. In a memorable scene Schygylla dances with Fassbinder who plays an unidentified stranger.

The film was filmed for TV on 16 mm and later released on DVD.


  1. ^ Jim’s Review. "The Films of Rainer Werner Fassbinder". Retrieved 2010-01-26. 

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