"special tools" will depend on how the hoses are connected to the filter. if they are regular hose clamps, you won't need special tools. if they are crimped hose clamps (a real B*TCH, trust me), your "special tool" will be a screwdriver. see pic below.
while the pic doesn't depict a fuel filter, it does show the alternate style of clamp which would lead the mechanic to tell you that you need a special tool. also note that if you deform the clip while trying to move it (i.e., make the crimped part wider), it is a REAL B*TCH to try to get it back together... time for "special tool." alternately, you could use a pair of dykes to re-crimp it, but if you weaken the integrity of the crimp in the process, you run the risk of losing fuel pressure. best bet in that case is to get a new hose clamp.
re: clamps securing filter to chassis
the clamps securing it to chassis are regular hex bolts. early e36 6-cylinder cars like yours have the filter near the left engine mount.