Hermann under the Influence of His Sentimental Moral Tale to His Wife’s Lydia – Imagines Himself as His Own Brother Invented by Him

Felix as he is – real, decent, angry, honest, poor, abandoned by life and by hope

Hermann met Felix by chance in an abandoned amusement park near the market, where both found themselves trapped in a labyrinth trying to find their way out. They introduced themselves to each other, and Felix ended up giving Hermann his post office address (he doesn’t have a residence). As always he was looking for job.

Felix was not a thief, but Hermann imagined that stealing can be one of Felix’s petti sins. In this shot Hermann is imagining that Felix is breaking into a house through window.

Hermann has started to psychologically project himself into Felix with strange results

By concentrating on how to use Felix – Hermann understood that he is basically an honest and, may be, even decent person and that it’s possible to use him for some kind of a serious purpose. But what? Felix is a good guy, but he seems to be a bit… dirty. He can be trusted, but not completely.

Hermann-Felix (Hermann with Felix’s appearance, according to Hermann himself)

Till this moment of his life and with his ability to think about life in general and even about what is going on in the social world and human decency in general Hermann starts to grow even more obsessed with the figure of Felix. He more and more comes to feel that Felix is a human being one can rely on. He started to fantasize about Felix’ life and simultaneously dream about himself as Felix … as his own double, resembling one another, being similar as personalities and even by appearance. Hermann started to fantasize about Felix as Hermann and about himself as Felix. Sometimes Hermann even started to imagine himself as poor Felix who is in need of help or that he, Hermann is as Felix transformed into Hermann who is in need of enjoying helping himself to look like Felix! Here we see Hermann in the condition of Felix trying from despair to cut his wrist at a kitchen counter (in, may be, Hermann and Lydia’s luxurious house?)

Yes, Hermann (like Felix) is able to suffer, sometimes dreaming to commit suicide, not really, but… why not to imagine it?

Sometimes Hermann-Felix is able to cry, not because his wife Lydia is too frivolous with her burly cousin. Of course, for Hermann Lydia’s frivolous behavior with trivial and empty Ardalion is not a big deal, however betrayal is betrayal – it’s still a burden (and his regular visits to their house takes some energy). Hermann is not easily offended, especially with Felix not far away.

Hermann-Felix is simply just depressed and sad that the world is less and less attractive, that people are rude, mixed up and frantic, that everything is like nothing, that even the world has stopped to be the world.

May be, Felix as Hermann-Felix will help – to save Hermann from solitude and depression, when teeth pressing against tears.

Felix-Hermann (Felix in the appearance of Hermann)

Felix as Hermann (Felix in Hermann’s imagination and in Hermann’s costume) who also wants to help Hermann in his solitude, in his despair. He wants to prevent Hermann from cutting his wrist. Look, how attentive he is as Hermann in Hermann’s suit. He wants to save Hermann, he wants to be helpful and be caring for him. For sure, when Felix starts to try to help Hermann it cannot be that it’s just Felix – no, it’s Hermann who is pushing Felix to help Hermann. Of course, to the same Hermann (sorry, but it is how things happen with wealthy people – to help themselves they use the same poor ones – they use help as self-help through the poor-help). Look how passionate Felix-Hermann is in his gaze directed to the lost Hermann!

“Don’t do that, don’t cut your wrist, rely on me – I’ll help you!”

Look, how Felix as Hermann is trying to help with his compassion, with his care about Hermann as Felix. Real Hermann doesn’t know how to help anybody else. For this reason his Felix’s face is overburdened, heavy, even over-trying when he is showing concern, and his voice is all too serious, so over-real.

Fassbinder’s Hermann and Felix try to outdo one another – each attempts to be more polite and moral than the other one

Who is kinder? Who is more caring – Hermann as Felix about Felix or Felix as Hermann about Hermann? Hermann as Felix is trying to bow more and look from down up, while Felix as Hermann feels much more awkward being fashionably dressed in an elegant suit standing tall over the prostrated figure of Hermann-Felix on the floor. Hermann as Felix prefers to look more modestly, with the appearance that contradicts his true self in life.

Hermann as Felix lowers himself down to an extremely humiliated position, as if, he is trying to demonstrate heroic humility, as if, he is not what he really is, as if, he is many times poorer. Hermann behaves, as if, he can mislead god about the truth that he will soon kill/and… already killed Felix – he hasn’t yet got his lesson which… awaits him in the finale of the film. Then poor Hermann will be lucky at the end, so lucky, so tearfully-spiritually happy!

Finally, Hermann (seeing himself as Felix), in Felix’s clothes, with Felix’s ragged look, displaying his humiliation in full – he is kissing Felix’s shoe, as if, it’s Hermann’s!

Fassbinder’s invention of a number of cinematic episodes dealing with the changing personalities between two characters gives the viewers the chance to compare their souls – to see not only the actual – acting characters but their internal worlds, their very souls. Hermann expresses himself much less as a real human being who is shamefully limited and even… deserves final self-punishment that will follow. On the level of behavior Hermann is wittily, sharply charming, that made him to continue to lie again and again until lie will be transformed into criminal acts – betrayal of human life/lives, betrayal of Being.

Felix-Hermann as Hermann feels shame to see how Hermann-Felix is prostrated at his feet, as if ready to leak his foot – this Hermann’s pretentiousness covered by Felix’s visible discomfort is what we see here – this shameful maneuvers of the human soul (Hermann’s) was to cover up the essence (the human soul) by hiding not only his immoral behavior but his twisted, pathologized human soul. It’s the human soul’s pathological behavior that we observe every day and every hour in our own lives – how people mask their real intentions and behavior until eventually it will be revealed to the world through some final act of barbaric frankness. Felix in Hermann suit cannot even keep his eyes open to see how Felix as Hermann cannot look at the humiliation of Hermann-Felix.

How Felix-Hermann is putting his eyes up not having to even look down at Hermann-Felix prostrated at his feet with extreme selflessness!

Until Felix is in Hermann’s clothes and is trying to be himself he has to still seem like a boss. For this reason Felix-Hermann is trying to look adequately – for this reason his face is distressed and strict. It keeps the serious, pompous expression of a progenitor presiding over the population.

Felix – the person as such – deprived, humiliated, deceived, helpless and still with self-respect and murdered through lies was a real human being, the only person who saved Hermann-Hermann forever by finally forcing Him out of his delirium

Felix (Claus Lowitsch) 1

Felix 2 (forced to be Felix-Hermann, Hermann-Felix and the victim because of Hermann-Hermann’s dirty-universal lies)

Felix 3 (Claus Lowitsch)