Knowing in advance that Fassbinder considers the institution of marriage to be the most insidious trap that mankind has yet devised for itself doesn't prepare you for The Marriage of Maria Braun. It opens in 1943 as an air raid hits Maria and Hermann Braun's wedding ceremony, and closes with another explosion, highly ambiguous in effect and implication. In between, Hermann goes missing on the Russian front, serves years in jail, and emigrates to the States, while Maria sails through unruffled, acquiring wealth and position pending his return. It is at once Fassbinder's most conventional and elusive film: that final explosion keeps ricocheting long after it's over.
Cast and crew
Rainer Werner Fassbinder
Peter Märthesheimer, Pea Fröhlich