A German melodrama from Fassbinder soundtracked with country music, this film is heightened tragedy about the decline of stardom, the pettiness of an industry built on image, and the secondary industry that feeds off the pawns and players of that industry. Fassbinder's vision of glamour, vanity, and compassion is in stark B&W, but it's intricate and lovely, stylized with old Hollywood and Teutonic imperial imagery. This is Fassbinder paying tribute and critiquing at once.
The most impressive set is the hospital set, which anticipates the all-white asylum in Manhunter. It's all the more startling in black-and-white , brilliantly clinical and cold, a prison of control and soulless ice, contrasted to the elaborate film sets and dingy city streets. The editing between this and the other sets, especially as madness seems to set in, is a slow, depressing strobe effect that drains you emotionally to experience.
December count: 79/100.