Show This Week

August 13, 2017

1238.) Vintage: This week I present another super-rarity, Rainer Werner Fassbinder’s only TV variety special. Conceived as a tribute to the talents of his star Brigitte Mira (Ali: Fear Eats the Soul), Like a Bird on a Wire (aka “Like a Bird on the Wire,” 1974) is a musical special that finds Mira performing both old and new songs from both Germany and (North) America. Fassbinder places her in various environments to warble her tunes: a living room, a train coach, a gay bar, a fashion show, and some kind of glam gym. The show opens and closes with the song it is named for, by Leonard Cohen, but Mira also performs two songs that are very familiar to American audiences, one from a famous musical and another that is perhaps the most “Fassbinderian” pop song of all time. The copy of the show I’m airing is both crystal-clear and subtitled in English.