Gillian takes a look at Fassbinder’s autobiographical ode to unrequited love and credit suicide in I Only Want You to Love Me (1976)
Poor little Peter Trepper. From the film’s opening sequence of him toiling away for his ungrateful parents (he is building them a house, literally, with his bare hands!) like some kind of Bavarian chain-smoking Cinderella, you can’t help but empathize with the poor kid. Peter (played by the sheepishly sad eyed Vitus Zeplichal), like all of Fassbinder’s heroes and heroines, can be read as a surrogate for the director himself.
Hardworking to the point of self-harm, Peter leaves his loveless childhood-home with his new wife, only to find it takes more than a train-ride to Munich to shake the psychic demons of his youth. In one flashback we watch as a young-Peter is beaten with a coat-hanger till it breaks; a punishment for stealing flowers for his…
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