Fassbinder repertory stalwart Kurt Raab stars as Fritz Haarmann, a government inspector who moonlights as a cannibalistic serial killer (based on the real-life murderer of the same name), in Lommel’s harrowing and complex third feature, set in 1925. Haarmann preys mostly on young boys and, after getting his fill, offers up their remains to the rest of his cannibal cabal. Although working in a genre quite distinct from those deconstructed by his friend and mentor Fassbinder (who appears in this film as a sexually aggressive crook), Lommel’s psycho-thriller engages with many of the same themes and questions (about desire, sympathy, exploitation, German identity) as Fassbinder’s politically charged melodramas. In addition to Raab and Fassbinder himself, the film contains striking performances from many other Fassbinder regulars, including Margit Carstensen, Ingrid Caven, Brigitte Mira, and El Hedi ben Salem.

Screening as part of “Fassbinder and His Friends.”