German cinema is mourning the loss of two greats this week, composer Peer Raben and actress Gisela Uhlen. The news of their deaths should be especially heartbreaking to fans of Fassbinder's The Marriage of Maria Braun, since it features the talents of both. Raben, who died Sunday at the age of 66, collaborated with Fassbinder on most of the director's films, including Querelle, which unfortunately earned the composer three Razzie nominations. Despite that one moment of fault, though, Raben was the recipient of a lifetime achievement honor at the 2006 World Soundtrack Awards.
In addition to scoring Fassbinder's major works, he also wrote original music for Wong Kar Wai's 2046 and The Hand (Wong Kar Wai's segment of the portmanteau Eros), Barbet Schroeder's Tricheurs and a restored version of Pandora's Box. And he occasionally wrote, directed, acted, produced. Uhlen died on January 16 at the age of 87. She had worked fairly steady as an actress for the past 70 years, though the aforementioned Fassbinder film is probably the work she's most known for in the States. It is also the film that brought her the one German Film Award she would ever receive. The only film that I have seen her in (I know, I need to see more Fassbinder) is Totò the Hero, and her death reminds me that it is disappointingly still unavailable on DVD in America.As this year marks the 25th anniversary of Fassbinder's death, the Berlin International Film Festival will be screening a digitally restored version of the director's mini-series Berlin Alexanderplatz. Although for the memory of this week's two losses it would be appropriate to add The Marriage of Maria Braun to the lineup, I imagine that both Raben (who scored Berlin Alexanderplatz) and Uhlen will be in the thoughts many of the festival's attendees.