Radu Gabrea
Radu Gabrea

“Man Like Eva” is a film where the film-director (making a film inside Gabrea’s – Eva-Fassbinder) at first encourages the actors playing the hero and heroine to fall in love with each other, following their characters – to be more profoundly involved with one another as personages, but when it happens, he intervenes in their love to destroy it by becoming sexually involved with the actor playing the hero (Fassbinder himself is already amorously involved with the actress). But why something like this could happen? Why does the director behave so, softly speaking, eccentrically? Isn’t art not a reality, although it’s based on it, and isn’t it equally based on human imagination? Acting is a beautiful pretense, but it’s also the one which is sincere and serious. And why to intervene if something like love, this gracious bird (the both actors are stably involved in relationships deeply rooted in marriages) passes between Gudrun and Walter – if such miracle took place? Isn’t the more of love happen in the world – the better for the people? More, why to encourage the actors to become personally involved – can’t it create an obstacle for building their characters and chaos in the very genuineness of impersonation?

But according to Radu Gabrea, Fassbinder (as a character in Gabrea’s film) had his reasons, and serious ones to provoke the actors to dive into amorous lake, and then to step in by intervening. Of course, Fassbinder’s reasons don’t include any shadow of jealousy and motifs like rivalry for the possession of the beloved and they have nothing to do with his love for the actress playing the heroine. In “Man Like Eva” Fassbinder as a director uses sex to attack the philistine love. And he does it because for him personal love has a blindness for the larger world and deeper culture and tends to be what it always tended to be, except in Aristophanes’ “Lysistrata” (where women rebel against war which was swallowing their beloveds like Cronos) – a factor in the primordial sub-logic of traditional men’s psychological readiness and cheerful preparation for war and simultaneously masochistic self-sacrificial impulses on megalomaniacal wings.

Unique in its horrifying truth are the scenes between Eva Mattes (Eva-Fassbinder) and Werner Stocker (Walter), where Fassbinder through a violently erotic pantomime tries to persuade Walter to agree to (become object of) anal intercourse (to humiliate his masculine pride and overcome his macho-conformism). These moments are powerful in their psychological elaboration, when the shadow of life defeats its sun-light. Under the influence of Eva-Fassbinder Walter has to lose interest in his machoistic beaming over the “conquered” woman and stop enjoying making this narcissistic shining public as a part of the agenda of being a super-star.

Eva Mattes’ personification of Fassbinder is grossly underestimated by the American film critics who have surrendered to making commercially oriented pop-movies and depriving the public of a wider and deeper understanding of cinematic art and life beyond consumerism of entertainment. Eva Mattes’ work in general deserves to be analyzed in the universities’ Film Departments to explain to the students the difference between acting and emotional manipulation of the viewers. In Gabrea’s film Eva Mattes not only plays a man but a man with a unique character and exceptional intelligence.

So, the task of Fassbinder as a character in Gabrea’s film is to shaken and dismantle machoism inside Walter (the leading male actor), mixed with his megalomaniacal stardom pretentions, and to provoke and then to frustrate Gudrun’s love for Walter (rooted in feminine erotic complexes impregnated with primordial possessive energies). Both of these traditional ways of behavior in love are matter-of-factly motives of today’s mass culture and psychologically invest in a world cult of macho-masculinity (including the so called democratic countries), and, therefore, in the success of war-mongering as a motif of “our” global superiority and domination.

Unfortunately, Eva-Fassbinder’s success with Walter is shattered by his failure with Gudrun who, in agreement with the plot of Duma’s novel (Gabrea’s film refers to) couldn’t forgive her new lover for “betraying” her with her old love-Fassbinder. The demon inside the beautiful woman Gudrun appeared to be much deeper and more tenacious than the one behind the male machoism.

Eva Mattes in the role of Fassbinder
Eva Mattes in the role of Fassbinder

Eva Mattes in Radu Gabrea’s “Man Like Eva” (1983)
Eva Mattes in Radu Gabrea’s “Man Like Eva” (1983)

Eva-Fassbinder was beaten up by desperate and righteous street thugs

Posted on Nov, 22, ’15-   Radu Gabrea’s “Man Like Eva” (1983) – Fassbinder’s Controversial Psychotherapy With The Actors, Characters And The Viewers by Acting-Out Politics