Rainer Werner Fassbinder interview by Frank Ripploh//march 1982


What are you afraid of?


Everyone’s afraid of that.

Nope, most people are afraid of dying and not of death itself; it’s the suffering leading up to death, long or brief illnesses, nope, I’m afraid of simply not being here. And that’s childish or not childish—what do I know—up to now I haven’t been able to do anything about it. So I’m always trying to portray attitudes like that of Veronika Voss, to try them out for myself, to see whether they’re possible, whether I could manage to develop such an attitude, to get rid of this fear.

When does it come over you particularly?

Oh, I can’t tell you. It comes over me when I’m writing, when I’m fucking; or during breakfast suddenly I feel afraid.

What do you see as your strong points, your weak points?

Oh, it’s so hard to say such things about yourself, but my strengths and weaknesses are certainly the same thing; there’s this strange compulsion to work, which is certainly a strength and a weakness at the same time.

What does it enable you to get through?

Oh, certainly those dead moments, those empty moments you have in life can be more easily gotten through that way.

Do such moments result from disappointments?

Oh, I don’t think so. I’d say I’m manic-depressive, and I just try to be depressive as seldom as possible. Incredible amounts of work help to bridge the gap.

A person can categorize himself as a democrat, a tyrant, a Christan, a resister, an anarchist, a liberal, a conservative. How do you describe yourself?

I’m a romantic anarchist.