Marriage, Fassbinder style!
Screenplay By: Rainer Werner Fassbinder, Pea Fröhlich, Peter Märthesheimer & Kurt Raab
Directed By: Rainer Werner Fassbinder
A movie can be tied to its specific culture or country. In a lot of ways Die Ehe Der Maria Braun is a movie tied to post World War II Germany, West Germany in particular. Some of what it says can relate to any person, but meaty parts of it are intrinsic to German culture, the German way of life and how the Germans feel they handled post war life. World War II and its ramifications have always been of interest to me, and that gave me an insight into these characters that other viewers may lack. I do think it helps for the viewer to have a basic understanding of post war Germany to fully comprehend where Die Ehe Der Maria Braun goes with its story.
I don’t believe that the above makes Die Ehe Der Maria Braun an inaccessible story, and maybe I’m wrong, maybe Die Ehe Der Maria Braun is a story that anyone can understand and relate to. It is similar to the Fassbinder mold in its pacing and structure. It moves slow and offers up plot in not so obvious ways. It moves through time as if time doesn’t matter, the story may take place in the 1950’s, but the interactions of the characters could take place down the street today. The acting is minimal, there are a few moments where the actors ratchet up the emotion, but for the most part they avoid melodrama and play their roles in quiet fashion.
I’m finding it hard to accurately assess my feelings on Die Ehe Der Maria Braun. It is a well made film, it is a great film. But, I can’t figure out how to put my thoughts into words. It didn’t hit me in the gut, it didn’t speak to me that much, but it conveyed a story that was interesting and a take on post war Germany that was refreshingly honest. Maria Braun’s story can be taken at face value, but it can also be viewed as a complete allegory for West Germany itself in the 1950’s and the selfish nature the country took on in its rabid attempts to rebuild and ignore the past for the sake of the future. Maria ignores everything about the past, she ignores the present, all she cares about is the future. Eventually when she gets what she wants it blows up in her face, literally, and this mirrors the path of West Germany as a country.
I don’t know if I have done justice to Die Ehe Der Maria Braun. I hope I have, I hope I have at the very least been sensible in my thoughts, but for some reason I am till having trouble putting my thoughts into any actual form. As I said earlier, Die Ehe Der Maria Braun is a well made film with only a few minor moments of melodrama that stick out like a sore thumb. I don’t really know what else to say because the words are failing me right now. I do know that Die Ehe Der Maria Braun gave me plenty to think about, and maybe that is the only thing worth saying right now.