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The films of Rainier Werner Fassbinder take a bit of getting used to. At first, "Rio Das Mortes" will seem wooden and sluggish--but as you grow accustomed to Fassbinder's stylized filmmaking, the movie grows elegant. Hanna (Hanna Schygulla) wants to marry Mike (Michael Konig), but Mike is obsessed about going to Peru with his friend Gunther (Gunther Kaufmann) to engage in a treasure hunt. As the two make clumsy attempts to raise the money for the trip, Hanna at first feels safe (when they try to convince her uncle to invest, their callow ignorance is both comic and painful). But slowly she realizes that Mike's fantasies mean more to him than she does, and her world starts to crumble. Mike and Gunther's flounderings become perversely fascinating as the movie uses them to deftly illustrate the social and economic mechanisms of society; Fassbinder's eye--both harsh and sympathetic--is remarkable. "--Bret Fetzer"
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