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745 Ratings

Love Is Colder Than Death

Liebe ist kälter als der Tod

West Germany, 1969
Drama, Comedy, Avant-Garde


For his debut, Fassbinder fashioned an acerbic, unorthodox crime drama about a love triangle involving the small-time pimp Franz (Fassbinder), his gangster friend Bruno (Ulli Lommel), and Franz’s prostitute girlfriend, Joanna (future Fassbinder mainstay Hanna Schygulla).

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Love Is Colder Than Death Directed by Rainer Werner Fassbinder

Awards & Festivals



German Film Awards

1970 | 2 wins including: Best Performance by an Ensemble (Gold)

The film is full of beatings—it practically begins with a series of sadistic rituals that Lommel’s superiors perform on their new recruits—and it contains a few murders as well. Yet Fassbinder purposely drains the violence of suspense; it feels inevitable, ritualized, a cold fact of modern life.
September 29, 2017
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Before making films, the prodigious and precocious Fassbinder founded a theatre troupe, and the coldly stylized, comically affectless performances are a mark of a singular sensibility. These performances, as well as his restrained, precise, yet highly textured and alluringly composed images, help to convert his starkly modern aesthetic into a world.
February 24, 2016
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Formally, Love Is Colder Than Death blends the dynamic tracks and jarring cuts of the Nouvelle Vague with the arid, artificial performance style of RWF’s own Anti-Theater. But the film is more than the sum of its appropriations. Unabashedly off-putting (like Fassbinder himself), it stakes out its creator’s motifs and techniques, the latter changing with time but the former comprising the thesis to his career.
May 30, 2014
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