Ten years before I met Warhol I had another encounter that would prepare me for Andy: German genius Rainer Fassbinder. In 1967 I was a teenage movie star in Germany, on the cover of teen magazines and receiving tons of fan mail each day.
When I first met Fassbinder he said that if I played the lead in his debut film he would get money from an investor and finance it. I accepted and starred in “Love is Colder than Death” (1968). In the Course of the next ten years I made 21 productions with Fassbinder and starred in many of his films and theater productions. He also produced “Tenderness of the Wolves”, the film I directed and that brought me international recognition, playing over a year in Paris and London to superb reviews.
I also introduced camera man Michael Ballhaus to Fassbinder, which later would lead to Ballhaus’ incredible career in Hollywood, where he worked with Scorcese, Cappola, Micke Nichols and Robert Redford. Michael had been my cinematographer on “Adolf and Marlene” (1976), another Fassbinder production, and was instrumental in inspiring me to visual designs I had previously only dreamt of. When I received my first top award in 1983 from the Cinema Owners of America. “Independent Director of the year”, I dedicated it to Ballhaus, Fassbinder and Warhol.
The film received primarily positive reviews. According to the review aggregator Rotten Tomatoes Effi Briest had received a 75% approval rating with an average rating of 7.1/10 among 8 professional critics. IMDb gave the film a similar rating, with an average score of 7.1/10 among 1,559 IMDb users. Effi Briest was also named one of the Best 1,000 Movies Ever Made by The New York Times. The film won the 1974 Interfilm Award at the 24th Berlin International Film Festival and was nominated for the Golden Bear.