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Film / Chinesisches Roulette

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Chinesisches Roulette (translated title: Chinese Roulette) is a 1976 film by Rainer Werner Fassbinder. It features Anna Karina, Margit Karstensen, Brigitte Mira, Macha Méril. Several male actors too.

The story revolves around a German family where the only child, the daughter Angela, is crippled. Both her mother and father cheat on each other for years with a nearly official lover. Once a father declares that he is going to leave for Norway. Instead he arrives to a country house with his long-time French lover. What he does not know is that his wife also is going to the same country house. They all meet and events acquire some dynamic.



  • Chekhov's Gun: In its most classic form. Indeed the gun is shown in the middle of the film and it is used in the end.
  • Chessmaster: The young Angela.
  • Creepy Child: Angela is very frequently this.
  • Cute Mute: Kaunitz played by Macha Méril.
  • Death Glare: Various characters cast such glances at each other at numerous occasions.
  • Evil Cripple: Angela who can walk only with clutches.
  • Fan Disservice: That's how the naked Ariane played by Margit Karstensen is presented to her child daughter and the viewer after a night with her lover.
  • Genius Cripple: Angela is the one. She is able to manipulate people and she is also an erudite.
  • Gratuitous French: Honi soit qui mal y pense said by Ariane, the mother of Angela. She is German, not French as her husband's lover but she is the one to use this phrase.
  • The Oner: The titular scene when the society plays the Chinese roulette.
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  • Only a Flesh Wound: Exacly what Gabriel says about the neck wound sustained by Kaunitz at the hand of Ariane.
  • Only One Name:
    • Played with. An elderly servant played by Brigitte Mira is called by her surname "Kast" and her first name is never given. However her son, Gabriel Kast is called Gabriel.
    • Also Traunitz is only referred to by this surname.
  • Silent Snarker: That's what Traunitz appears to be.
  • Stylistic Suck: That's what the philosophic work of Gabriel appears to be, it is rambling and repetitive. Then Angela reveals that he has actually plagiarised its contents.
  • Wicked Cultured: Two bourgeois couples (implying a married couple and their respective lovers).
  • World of Snark: Everyone is this film is a snarker.