Imitation of Life (1959): Fassbinder’s Admiration of Sirk’s Movie

The late, great German director Fassbinder was an admirer of his compatriot, Douglas Sirk, particularly his glossy Hollywood pictures, such as Imitation of Life, starring Lana Turner and John Gavin.

Fassbinder thought that the very excesses and extravagances of the narrative are a testament to the film’s veracity and sublimity, describing it as “a great and crazy movie about life and about death.”

For him, the film’s essence resided in the fact that “characters are always making plans for happiness, for tenderness, and then the phone rings.”