Elvira is an adaptation of the film, A Year Of Thirteen Moons, by German filmmaker Rainer Werner Fassbinder. Fassbinder's film follows the last five days in the life of Erwin Weishaupt. In love with his former business partner Anton Saitz, who was not gay, he decided to change his sex and to become Elvira, but the sex change did not bring him happiness.
Every seventh year is one of the moon. In such years people suffer increasingly from emotional ups and downs and depression. Moon years such as 1978 are years that have 13 new moons. This inevitably leads to personal catastrophes. In an attempt to escape from her own past, Elvira Weishaupt looks for refuge within a circle of people familiar to her. When she only encounters derision and rejection she is left with only one option.
Billie Holiday's crooning and provocative song, Strange Fruit, originally written by poet, Abel Meeropol was one of the first loud stances that exposed American racism, particularly the lynching of African Americans. I've chosen to evoke parallels of Elvira's power struggle with lynching. Elvira was a slave but through desperation and was ultimately beaten and discarded. Her love was treated as farce, keeping her from becoming the identity that she could only gain through love.
Written in the aftermath of his lover Armin Meier’s suicide, the film features Fassbinder as writer, director, producer, cinematographer, set designer and co-editor. These biographical factors and dominant production credits have prompted many critics to declare it Fassbinder’s “most personal film”. Although many details of protagonist Elvira’s story take their cues from Meier’s life, Elvira fits the mould of the long-suffering heroes and heroines that populate Fassbinder’s cinema.
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