Rainer Werner Fassbinder was a pioneer of the New German Cinema, so it is fitting that he would study a rejuvenated country through the eyes of a rejuvenated cinema. A lavish soaper, but more detached and profound than Dallas, with great symbolism at work. After the horrors of World War II, Germany and Maria Braun (Hanna Schygulla) are devastated but quickly find their feet. As West Germany grows into a leading industrial nation, Maria becomes a successful businesswoman who uses her brains and body to create wealth. Schygulla is marvellous in one of her best parts – cold, vicious and attractive.
1978-West Germany. 120 min. Color. Produced by Michael Fengler. Directed by Rainer Werner Fassbinder. Screenplay: Peter Märthesheimer, Pea Fröhlich. Cinematography: Michael Ballhaus. Cast: Hanna Schygulla (Maria Braun), Ivan Desny (Karl Oswald), Gottfried John (Willi Klenze), Klaus Lowitsch, Gisela Uhlen, Günther Lamprecht.
Trivia: Original title: Die Ehe der Maria Braun. The other films in this post-war trilogy are Lola (1981) and Veronika Voss (1982).
Berlin: Best Actress (Schygulla).
Last word: “It all began when Fassbinder told me the plot of this story and wanted to know whether I thought it was exciting. Then he gave me a gushing, voluminous, schmaltzy manuscript to read that somebody in Hamburg had apparently written down.” (Märthesheimer on how the work began, in an interview for the press booklet)