SHANGHAI EXPRESS (Josef von Sternberg, 1932)

“We’re in China now . . . where time and life have no value.” China is in the throes of civil war. The Shanghai Express, departing from Beijing, includes a Chinese rebel who is taken by nationalists; the rebels halt the train mid-run to determine which of the passengers would make the best hostage to […]

GODS OF THE PLAGUE (Rainer Werner Fassbinder, 1970)

Towards the end, there’s an extraordinary scene in Götter der Pest, writer-director Rainer Werner Fassbinder’s sequel to Liebe ist kälter als der Tod (1969), from West Germany. Franz Walsch, recently released from prison, and buddy Günther are looking forward to the supermarket holdup they have planned. They are seated together at a table in a […]