All AMC Shows
Movies on AMC
Fox and His Friends (1975)
Fox and His Friends, (German: Faustrecht der Freiheit) is a 1975 West German film written and directed by Rainer Werner Fassbinder, starring Fassbinder himself, Peter Chatel and Karlheinz Böhm. The plot follows the misadventures of a working-class homosexual who falls in love with the elegant son of an industrialist. His lover tries to mold him into a gilt-edged mirror of upper-class values and ultimately swindles the easily flattered lottery winner out of his fortune. The film is an incisive look at the relationship between money and emotions. Love is seen as a commodity that can be bought for money and last just as long as it is profitable. Franz Biberkopf, is a sweet but unsophisticated working-class homosexual, who works in a carnival as "Fox, the Talking Head". He finds himself without a job when his boyfriend, Klaus, the carnival owner, is arrested for tax fraud. Now jobless, Fox visits Hedwig, his sister, who likes to drink and is in no mood or situation to provide any help. After losing the remaining money that he had, Fox turns to tricks in order to buy the lottery ticket he is convinced will bring him his fortune.
Rainer Fassbiner directs himself in the lead role of Fox, a light-headed loser employed as a 'talking (decapitated) head' for the circus. Obsessed with the lottery, he doesn't quite know what to do with himself when he actually wins, but a gaggle of mostly-gay cronies who glom onto him soon after help out in that regard.
What follows is straight out of Mr. Deeds Goes to Town or Brewster's Millions, though it's not played for laughs. Rather, Fox's journey is a sad one, where he is constantly taken advantage of; when he isn't losing his money, he's losing what's left of his heart.
Unfortunately, Fox's journey downward is more of a straight shot than a spiral. There's not a lot of originality when he's coerced into bad business deals, buys fancy clothes, or is scolded for not using a fork at an upscale restaurant. His descent into melancholy is unsurprising but still unsatisfying, namely because his character is so stupid he teeters on hateful. He's certainly unsympathetic; it's the same syndrome that likely affected those who didn't care for Forrest Gump. Not that there's any further similarity between the two movies.
Fassbinder reportedly called Fox his 'most honest film,' but I'm not sure what that means. If he was unhappy with celebrity (and I'm no expert on his life), the movie may be 'honest,' but it strikes me as holly and a bit of a cop-out. There's no real attempt to deal with the problem of sudden wealth and those who attempt to scam the suddenly wealthy. Fox is a pathetic loser who almost deserves what he gets. He's not a hero and he's not a villain. He's just there. Taking up space.
Aka Faustrecht der Freiheit (literally Fist-Fight of Freedom).