Revisited this for no particular reason. It's almost impossible to imagine a Hollywood movie star today pulling off what Clooney did in the '00s, as an actor, director, and producer. Here he's essentially doing Charles Bronson in The Mechanic -- quiet, tough, paranoid, humorless, and horny -- and showing his ass enough to get the project funded (see also Solaris).
Fassbinder uses the same trick over and over again throughout this film. A sequence begins in closeup or in a two shot. There's a conversation. And then, gradually, the camera pulls back to reveal one or two other people who serve as an audience. It's their presence that generates the tension, the awkwardness, the anxiety. This is Fassbinder's FACES -- a story told in reaction shots.
I worked a dozen shit retail jobs in my teens and 20s, and more than two decades later I still notice every "How Hiring" sign in every store and restaurant I enter. It's impossible to shake off that training -- of looking for the next, slightly better opportunity. I'm glad to have that in me, and I'm also glad I was eventually able to leave behind that hustle, because managers like Lisa are the hardest working people I've ever known.…