The Marriage Of Maria Braun

DVD Rating: **

Reviewed by: Ben Sillis

Read Ben Sillis's film review of The Marriage Of Maria Braun
The Marriage Of Maria Braun

The extras in this package, though seemingly substantial, fall far below the high quality of the feature film itself.

Biographies and filmographies of many of the cast of Fassbinder films in general are included, though they are brief and often move too quickly to read, at least on my DVD player.

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A short and utterly pointless film of The Women of Fassbinder"comprises some clips of women who have appeared in his films. Fassbinder, it seems, liked to use the same cast frequently throughout his career. That's all it is though, a mish-mash collection of clips of women in his films dancing and talking and pouting - stupidly, it makes no mention of who the women are or which film each clip is from. If it's a wordless attempt to explain or analyse their role in his work, it's a pitiful one.

A 1966 Fassbinder short entitled The Little Chaos is included. However, one senses that the distributors were scraping the barrel for material; it's atrocious. The story revolves around three young Germans (Fassbinder himself playing the determined lead) trying to make some money by going door to door selling magazines, to no avail. It tries to be like Godard (There's hints of Breathless in focusing on bored youths, obsessed with movies, turning to violence, and Jules Et Jim in the central threesome) but fails spectacularly.

Worst of all though is a stunningly pretentious documentary on the director. Asked why he wants to make films, he starts talking about the necessity of "moral substantiation", then waffles on about more incomprehensible bollocks, before at last concluding that it's because he likes to tell stories. And it all goes down hill from there ("The theatre scene is so rigid these days").

By the end, Fassbinder is making rambling self-congratulatory statements on how he thinks that only he and Wim Wenders have truly mastered the art of film making. It's this kind of quack-philosophising that left me with nothing but hate for the man, and almost makes you forget that he's actually managed to direct some decent features. To add to my general irritation, spliced in are clips from two of his earlier films, apparently unrelated to anything he is saying and more to pad it out.

There's a trailer as well, but it hardly needs to be said that there's no point in watching it when the actual film is included on the disc.

Reviewed on: 07 Aug 2006
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The Marriage Of Maria Braun packshot
A heart-breaking study of life for one woman in post-war West Germany. Out to own now on the RW Fassbinder Commemorative Collection: Vol 2.
Amazon link

Product Code: FCD269

Region: 2

Ratio: 16:9 full height Anamorphic

Sound: Dolby Digital mono

Extras: Fassbinder Frauen - the women of Rainer Werner Fassbinder, Fassbinder Familia (Interactive biography of Fassbinder's acting entourage), Florian Hopf on R.W. Fassbinder (35 min Documentary), The Little Chaos (9 min short film), trailer

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