The Marriage of Maria Braun

The Marriage of Maria Braun

Die Ehe der Marie Braun

DVD - 2003 | German
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Allegorical story of post-war Germany revolves around a young woman as she strives for material wealth while ignoring human values.
Publisher: [Irvington, NY] : Criterion Collection, 2003
Edition: Widescreen
Description: 1 videodisc (120 min.) : sd., col. ; 4 3/4 in
ISBN: 9781559409438
1559409436
Branch Call Number: DVD Marr

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m
MontMoroc
May 02, 2015

An excellent look at the post-war mentality of Germany- embodied by the relentless main character Maria Braun.
Directed with panache and style by Rainer Werner Fassbinder, this is one of his most popluar films- though not his best.

n
Nursebob
May 02, 2015

Apparently director Rainer Werner Fassbinder held the sacrament of marriage in particularly low regard. Little wonder then that he uses one woman’s troubled state of matrimony as a scathing metaphor for Germany’s post-war “Economic Miracle”. Married for less than one day, Maria Braun is forced to say good-bye to her soldier husband Hermann when he is sent to the Russian front leaving her to fend for her mother and grandfather by herself. It is the final days of WWII and Maria’s unnamed city is a maze of rubble and makeshift shops where people barter brooches for potatoes and prostitutes are paid with chocolate and firewood. Holding on to Hermann’s memory (he is presumed dead) Maria is determined to make her way in life no matter what the cost. Starting out as a dance hall plaything for lonely American GI’s she gradually morphs into the cold-hearted mistress of a French entrepreneur before finally evolving into a ruthless capitalist and amassing a small fortune of her own. But for every Deutschmark she gains Maria loses a bit of her humanity, not caring who she has to destroy in order to get what she wants. Even the miraculous return of Hermann, shell-shocked and nearly mad, does not deter her from her goal for she has long ago convinced herself that all those indiscretions were for the greater good—namely financial security for the two of them. Opening with a series of almost comical bangs (the newlyweds hunker down in a parking lot to say their vows while the Allies carpet bomb the town) and ending with a sardonic explosion so ludicrous it goes beyond the satirical, Fassbinder effectively bookends his film between two moments of destruction—one borne of conflict the other of apathy and affluence. In fact he takes great pains to constantly remind us of his disdain for what his country has become following the war: televised nationalism often drowns out real dialogue, Maria mistakenly puts her purse in a vase after her husband sends her a rose as if affection and currency were interchangeable, and the jarring sounds of heavy machinery seem to creep into even the most intimate scenes. A cold and cynical reproach featuring a knock-out performance by Fassbinder muse Hanna Schygulla.

r
rationallady
Mar 24, 2015

This was Fassbinder's most commercially successful film. I enjoyed the excellent acting and creation of postWWII Germany.

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