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The Marriage Of Maria Braun (free)

  • Chazen Museum of Art 750 University Avenue Madison, WI, 53706 United States (map)

Rainer Werner Fassbinder's breakthrough film takes place in a depressed post-World War II West Germany. Info


West German auteur filmmaker Rainer Werner Fassbinder's first great commercial success, The Marriage Of Maria Braun (1978), opens with an Adolf Hitler portrait exploding into pieces, as Maria (Hanna Schygulla) marries a Nazi officer in the midst of World War II. After Germany crumbles around her and her husband, Hermann Braun (Klaus Löwitsch), is captured, we follow Mrs. Braun during the ensuing West German economic depression. Maria forges a new life as she waits for her husband, falling for an American soldier who frequents the bar she works in. When Hermann returns, Maria accidentally kills her new lover in an ensuing scuffle, but Hermann goes to jail instead. While he's locked up, again, Mrs. Braun transforms herself into a formidable businesswoman, and her constantly shifting character development emerges as the film's primary focus. Here Fassbinder successfully marries the pomp and accessibility of Hollywood-style filmmaking with his depressing obsession with mundane power balances, simultaneously producing a critique of post-war capitalism. —Reid Kurkerewicz

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