Die Ehe der Maria Braun (1979)

Discussion in 'Archive' started by llanes13, Apr 29, 2009.

  1. llanes13

    llanes13 Guest




    Category: Drama
    Length: 1h31
    Language: German
    Subtitles included: english, french, spanish, dutch, italian, polish, brazilian-portuguese, serbian.

    One of Fassbinder's crowning achievements, this an exploration of the complexities and contradictions of postwar Germany as embodied in a trio of unforgettable women. A female survivor of World War II Germany incorporates seduction and self-preservation in order to stay alive.

    The film that elevated German director Rainer Werner Fassbinder from domestic approbation to international acclaim, The Marriage of Maria Braun stars the director's on-and-off favorite actress Hanna Schygulla in the title role. During the allied siege of Germany in the last year of the war, Maria's new husband (Klaus Löwitsch) is shipped off to the Russian front before the marriage is consummated. As she struggles to survive wartime deprivations, Maria haunts the local train station, seeking out information concerning her husband. When it appears that she's a widow, Maria takes a job as a barmaid and befriends a black soldier (George Byrd) from the occupying allied troops, who sees to it that Maria's family receives vital food and supplies. The opportunistic Maria eventually takes a job with a wealthy importer (Ivan Desny), building herself up to a position of power and indispensability. Though she sleeps with her employer, Maria still carries a torch for her husband.

    As noted in an affectionate commentary track by Fassbinder's friend and fellow director Wim Wenders, The Marriage of Maria Braun (1979) is Fassbinder's undisputed masterwork, a critical and box-office triumph that fulfilled Fassbinder's goal of creating a "German Hollywood melodrama" in the tradition of his director-hero, Douglas Sirk. Beautifully shot by Michael Ballhaus (who advanced to brilliant collaborations with Martin Scorsese), it stars Hanna Schygulla in her signature role as a newlywed whose missing husband returns in the mid-'50s, just as she's reinventing herself through opportunism, seduction, and blind ambition--a woman, like Germany, determined to forget her miserable past, with explosively tragic results. "BRD 2" is the wickedly satirical Veronika Voss (1982), filmed in black and white (a stylistic nod to German'y's post-war thrillers) and starring Rosel Zech as a faded film star-turned-morphine addict making futile attempts to revive her career. Set in 1957, Lola ("BRD 3," 1981) is Fassbinder's homage to Josef von Sternberg's The Blue Angel, and stars Barbara Sukowa as a cabaret singer and prostitute who, like Maria Braun, is for sale to the highest bidder--in this case a straight-laced official (Armin Mueller-Stahl) who discovers the high cost of ignorance.

    Hanna Schygulla, Klaus Löwitsch, Ivan Desny, Gisela Uhlen, Elisabeth Trissenaar, Gottfried John, Hark Bohm, George Eagles, Claus Holm, Günter Lamprecht, Anton Schiersner, Lilo Pempeit, Sonja Neudorfer, Volker Spengler, Isolde Barth.

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