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Rainer Werner Fassbinder is one of the most prominent and important authors of post-war European cinema. Thomas Elsaesser is the first to write a thoroughly analytical study of his work. He stresses the importance of a closer understanding of Fassbinder's career through a re-reading of his films as textual entities. Approaching the work from different thematic and analytical perspectives, Elsaesser offers both an overview and a number of detailed readings of crucial films, while also providing a European context for Fassbinder's own coming to terms with fascism.