Browse all reviews by letter     A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z 0 - 9

Germany 1970
Directed by
Rainer Werner Fassbinder
120 minutes
Rated M

Reviewed by
Bernard Hemingway
3 stars

The Marriage Of Maria Braun

The Marriage Of Maria Braun is the first of what retrospectively became known as Fassbinder’s “BRD trilogy” (Lola released in 1981 is "BRD 3" and Veronika Voss is "BRD 2") which dealt with the reconstruction of Germany (Bundesrepublik Deutschland) after WW2. 

The film begins in the last days of the war and follows the exploits of Maria Braun (Hanna Schygulla) a woman who sleeps her way to the top of Germany’s "economic miracle" of the 1950s only to meet a tragic end in what is the most effective section of the film.

Although it was the director’s greatest international box-office success and Schygulla’s most memorable role of many for the director, it is a film which precisely because its political commentary is so prominent has lost a good deal of its edge.  This is both because the critical values that inform its point of view belong to 1960s anti-establishmentarianism and the Adenauer era to which the film itself refers and in which clearly Fassbinder grew up is now but a distant memory.

Thus what probably holds most interest for the general viewer today is the relationship between Maria and her husband, Oswald (Ivan Desny), Maria being, at least in principle, one of the classic screen heroines who does everything because of her great love for her man, although, of course in the Fassbinderian universe, to be betrayed by him.

As with so many of Fassbinder’s films, Hollywood provides his point of reference and no doubt here Michael Curtiz’s Mildred Pierce (1945) was very important although the script for this, like all three films in the BRD trilogy, was written largely by Peter Märthesheimer, who had worked with Fassbinder as a commissioning producer and script editor on some of the director’s TV projects.

DVD Extras: Audio commentary by Dr Roger Hillman, Associate Professor in Film Studies & German Studies, Australian National University

Available from: Madman




Want something different?

random vintage best worst