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Fassbinder's first film to be invited to the Cannes and New York Film Festivals, Pioneers In Ingolstadt is the story of a group of young German recruits whose assignment is to build a wooden bridge in the town of Ingolstadt.They seek relief from their boredom with alcohol, acts of brutality and sexual escapades with the local women.Alma (Irm Hermann) and her friend Berta (Hanna Schygulla) welcome the excitement that the new arrivals bring to their lives, but while Alma picks up passing soldiers, Berta searches for true love.
Heavily influenced by the theater of Bertolt Brecht and the Hollywood melodrama of Douglas Sirk, the film alternates between perverse comedy and melancholy.Here Fassbinder first introduces a theme that he would later explore in such films as The Marriage Of Maria Braun (which also starred Hanna Schygulla) - that love is simply another word for war.
Pioneers In Ingolstadt announced the arrival of a fierce new cinematic talent, a talent that the New York Times' Vincent Canby dubbed the most original since Jean-Luc Godard.