"Fassbinder's most enigmatic film" (Anna Kuhn), Chinese Roulette offers a kinky, cruel, and coolly formalist variation on Renoir's Rules of the Game. The plot has a philandering married couple and their respective lovers who are unwittingly brought together for a weekend in a country chateau. The embarrassing situation has been engineered by the couple's disabled daughter, who then proceeds to initiate a truth game — “Chinese Roulette” in which participants must answer awkward questions about each other: “If this person were a wild animal, what would he be?” or, “What would this person have done in the Third Reich?” Brilliantly shot by the great cinematographer Michael Ballhaus, who now often works with Martin Scorsese, Chinese Roulette features Fassbinder's typical thematic and stylistic artificiality revved up to “an hysterical intensity and formal extravagance not far removed from the horror movie” (Richard Combs, Sight and Sound). “Fassbinder is exploring new methods of cinema narrative that are more original and daring than anything I’ve yet to see by filmmakers who call themselves avant-garde” (Vincent Canby, New York Times.) Colour, 35mm, in German with English subtitles. 86 mins.
"Taking one step at a time, Mr. Fassbinder is exploring new methods of cinema narrative that are more original and daring than anything I've yet to see by film makers who call themselves avant-garde."New York Times | full review