With a slower pace than other Fassbinder films, Chinese Roulette is a closed-space game: a couple spends the weekend in a castle, separately, each with his (her) lover and surprisingly meet face to face. The couple’s daughter, a physically disabled pre-teen, sets in motion a cruel “truth game” all weekend. The four characters of the exchanged couples and four others cohabit the space of the castle in the time of the film, participating in the threatening environment in which the threat of Nazism hovers and the restlessness of an enigma to unveil. (Cinemateca Portuguesa)
An adaptation by Fassbinder of his own play, “The Bitter Tears of Petra von Kant” is one of the major films of his career, starring Hanna Schygulla and Irm Hermman.)
It’s a semi-autobiographical film. The whore is Hollywood and Fassbinder’s film is one the great movies about the making of a movie. Or not: on a film set both the director and the film material are missing. The cast and crew are gathered at a Spanish hotel waiting so they can begin work on a gangster film starring Eddie Constantine. We watch the bunch as they relate in this tense situation. The director’s arrival pushes them towards alienation.