In einem Jahr mit 13 Monden stars Erwin Spengler as a man desperately in love with his business partner. He decides to have a sex change operation, becomes Elvira, but this fails to attract the love of his beloved. Instead, the new "she" finds a series of damaging relationships and betrayals. Fassbinder uses harsh color, asymmetrical sets, a dissonant sound track and alternating narrative techniques to evoke the pain of Erwin/Elvira in a film that stretches the boundaries of conventional storytelling.
By the end, Elvira’s fate is of little shock yet you hope that somehow she can pull out of it. Neither fully a woman or man, Elvira lived her life in a personal, painful hell; unable to be truly loved while pouring herself out until nothing remained. Fassbinder sympathizes with Elvira yet is never maudlin about it; we never forget that she lives in a world of her own making yet still we have to root for her because there’s no reason someone so seemingly good-hearted must suffer such abuse and rejection all in the pursuit of genuine love. Perhaps that’s the final point to be made.
No matter what it is a film that is not forgotten easily, whether one wishes to or not.