In a Year of 13 Moons

In a Year of 13 Moons (German: In einem Jahr mit 13 Monden) is a 1978 West German drama film directed by Rainer Werner Fassbinder and starring Volker Spengler.[1] The film was made in response to the suicide of Fassbinder's lover at the time, Armin Meier. In a "Top 10" list of his own films, Fassbinder placed In a Year of 13 Moons second, after Beware of a Holy Whore.[2]

In a Year of 13 Moons
In a Year of 13 Moons film poster.jpg
Theatrical release poster
Directed byRainer Werner Fassbinder
Produced byRainer Werner Fassbinder
Written byRainer Werner Fassbinder
StarringVolker Spengler
Ingrid Caven
Gottfried John
Music byPeer Raben
CinematographyRainer Werner Fassbinder
Edited byRainer Werner Fassbinder
Juliane Lorenz
Distributed byTango-Film
Filmverlag der Autoren
Release date
  • 17 November 1978 (1978-11-17)
Running time
124 minutes
CountryWest Germany


The film recounts the last few days in the life of Elvira (Volker Spengler), a transsexual woman formerly known as Erwin. After being beaten up for trying to buy sex in a park, she returns home to her longtime lover Christoph (Karl Scheydt), who's been away for six weeks. Christoph abuses her verbally and physically, and when he announces he's leaving for good, she desperately tries to stop him, only to be rescued by her friend Zora (Ingrid Caven). We watch as Elvira and Zora visit a slaughterhouse and the orphanage where Elvira grew up, and her later contacts with her family and former lover Anton Saitz (Gottfried John), as she attempts to come to terms with the consequences of her decision to change her sex. The film ends with the suicide of the main character after her subliminal cries for help go by unnoticed.



  1. ^ Pempeit was Fassbinder's mother.


  1. ^ Canby, Vincent. "New York Times: In a Year of 13 Moons". NY Times. Retrieved 5 August 2008.
  2. ^ The Anarchy of the Imagination: Interviews, Essays, Notes. Johns Hopkins University Press. ISBN 978-0801843693.
  3. ^ "Fassbinder Foundation: In a Year with 13 Moons". Fassbinder Foundation. Retrieved 31 December 2014.

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