Tuesday, May 9, 2023 at 7:30pm
Ian Penman's Fassbinder Thousands of Mirrors

361 Stagg Street, Suite 407, Brooklyn

Ian Penman, one of the great critics now working, makes a rare visit to New York on the occasion of his new book Fassbinder Thousands of Mirrors, which has just been published in the US by Semiotext(e). Written in the spring of last year, in a nod to the compressed periods of productivity that yielded Rainer Werner Fassbinder’s expansive filmography, this is the antithesis of the neat and comprehensive auteur monograph. RWF, as Penman states from the outset, is a figure impossible to summarize. The director is perhaps less the book’s subject than a catalyzing agent. In its pages we encounter his many contradictions, which precipitate a chain of clustered, incisive commentaries by Penman, with observations about the filmmaker’s art, life, and persona braided together with autobiography, politics, literature, music, and more. Indeed, Penman’s fragmented style here serves as the model for our evening at Light Industry, which will feature a reading from the author punctuated by a variety of film sequences.

“Four decades on the messiness remains,” writes Penman. “He hasn’t become a smoothed-out icon or convenient role model; something in him still resists such easy appropriation. Too untidy and paradoxical. Difficult to canonize, difficult to mourn. Difficult to assimilate. He is the opposite of those modernist figures who leave behind a tiny nest of fragments, like the remains of an afternoon picnic: the cult of the little and the lost, the sliver and the fragment. He is the opposite of all that. He is an entire town, region, conurbation, country; die Fassbundesrepublik.”

Tickets - Pay what you can ($10 suggested donation), available at door.

Please note: seating is limited. First-come, first-served. Box office opens at 7pm. No entry 10 minutes after start of show.

Copies of Fassbinder Thousands of Mirrors will be available for sale at Light Industry.

This event is co-hosted by Deutsches Haus at NYU and the New York Institute for the Humanities.

Support for this program provided by Humanities New York.