So many people flipping out on Hitler suggested a strong tendency in Germany toward obedience.
There was an instant, unspoken connection between them. She found him curious. During improvisations, his approach was always different from the others.
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She wrinkles her nose. He smelled how he looked. Like a spotty rebel filled with angst.
They were rarely apart from that point on. He cast her in his debut film, the bare-bones gangster movie Love Is Colder Than Death, in which he played a petty hood and she was his blank-eyed, doll-faced moll. He was more like a choreographer. There were precise gestures and movements he would get us to do. If you were a little strained and not totally into it, he would like that because it seemed you were living a life in which you were not comfortable; it was not really yours.
But because I knew what was coming, I would always flinch. However, she was one of the few members of his repertory company to avoid being tricked, trapped or intimidated by him.
He knew he could only get things from me if he made me feel he liked what I was doing. At the start of every day on Whity, Fassbinder would demand 10 cuba libres: nine to drink and one to hurl at Ballhaus.
But the cinematographer stuck by him. I never understood his behaviour but I learned so much from him. The emotional casualties Fassbinder left in his wake were almost as numerous as his movies.
Irm Hermann, who lived with the filmmaker for several years and worked with him almost as often as Schygulla, suffered emotional and physical abuse at his hands which drove her to try to take her own life three times. She acquiesced but then vomited afterwards. But she witnessed plenty of similar behaviour. I looked away a lot.
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This is a woman, after all, who was delivered on Christmas Day by a doctor who happened also to be moonlighting at Auschwitz. I wonder, too, whether the put-upon actors ever offered one another support or solidarity. Never in front of him. She fled the lab eventually. He even suggested putting her under a lifetime contract. Blinded to Mark's faults, she begins to entertain the idea of being his muse and, buoyed by the diary she reads detailing Dostoevsky's affair with his mistress Polina, Tanya decides to move in with him.
She soon realizes, however, that Mark is nothing like her Russian literary idol; in fact, he is a pale glimmer of what she first thought.
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She used to dream of the "old-bearded writer coming to her bed," but Mark, with his paunchy stomach, graying hair on his chest, and the anxious eyes of a chubby little boy — couldn't be farther from her fantasies. Author Lara Vapnyar beautifully recounts Tanya's unsullied dream of finding Mr. Right, a modern-day Dostoevsky, but having to cope with dashed and unfulfilled hopes while doing so. Tanya builds a dream castle of Mark based on illusion and hope; then she gets to know him, and the illusion crashes and the hopes go.
A charming exploration of sex, intimacy and feminine intuition, Memoirs of a Muse captures the heart of a transplanted woman, set adrift in a new world, who is determined to awaken sexually and emotionally. As she reads about the young Polina's betrayal by Dostoevsky, Tanya is gradually transformed, filled with a cavernous, impalpable yearning. Unfortunately, her subsequent search for this connection doesn't really quell her longing.
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