Fassbinder's BRD Trilogy
Rainer Werner Fassbinder shares with many of his contemporary New German cineastes the romantic pessimism about the quest for love and freedom, which gets thwarted by individual limitations and the circumstantial wickedness of society. But, in dealing with the post-war ‘inability to mourn’, Fassbinder is one of the least apologetic filmmakers of the New German Cinema.

The trilogy films are highly stylized and classically narrated melodramas about Maria Braun (Hanna Schygulla), Veronica Voss (Rosel Zech) and Lola (Barbara Sukowa) who represent women in an antagonistic interaction with a patriarchal society. The main characters of each film have in common the persona of a somewhat femme-fatale woman, trapped by her desire for emotional (like Maria Braun), financial (like Lola) and psychological (as in case of Veronika Voss) emancipation. The narratives revolve around the ambivalence of love, with women caught in a corrupt man’s world, and in quest of their post-war socio-economic place. Typically, the road to success for these women in the Fassbinder-depicted patriarchal society, is paved by their mastery of seduction and betrayal (of men). The stories are told against the backdrop of the “economic miracle” which functions as a historical motif, and shapes the characters’ persona and motives, thus driving the causal (melodramatic) relationships between the women and the society to which they belong.

4 x DVD9 | NTSC 16:9 | 02:00:15 + 01:44:22 + 01:54:56 | 7.50 Gb + 7.89 Gb + 7.34 Gb + 6.94 Gb + 3% rec
Language: Deutsch
Subtitles: English
Genre: Drama

Director: Rainer Werner Fassbinder
Country: West Germany

The Marriage of Maria Braun (Die Ehe der Maria Braun) opens with the marriage ceremony under siege. Bombs dropping all around them, Maria (Hanna Schygulla) weds Hermann (Klaus Lowitsch), a German soldier she has known only briefly during the waning days of World War II. After a one-day honeymoon, Hermann returns to the Russian front, and Maria keeps a daily vigil at the train station, searching for any word about her husband. When word comes that he has died, she refuses to mourn her loss. Instead, she trades her mother's brooch for a sexy black dress and finds work as a bargirl. In the redecorated confines of an old school gymnasium, she meets a black American GI (George Byrd), and begins a relationship with him. A chance meeting on a train with a factory owner, Karl Oswald (Ivan Desny), earns her a secretarial job. She begins an affair with Karl, and soon proves to be a formidable businesswoman. Maria's single-minded rise through the company's ranks mirrors the renaissance of the German postwar economy.

• Audio Commentary by Cinematographer Michael Ballhaus and Director Wim Wenders
• Video Interview with Actress Hanna Schygulla (32:00)
• Video Interview with Fassbinder Scholar Eric Rentschler (20:00)

In Veronika Voss (Die Sehnsucht der Veronika Voss), a sports reporter named Robert Krohn (Hilmar Thate) comes to the aide of a mysterious femme fatale (Rosel Zech) during a pouring rain. When Veronika invites him for lunch the following day, he discovers that she was once a popular actress during the war (and was rumored to be the mistress of Hitler's infamous propaganda minister, Joseph Goebbels). Alternately seductive, needy, and unfathomable, Veronika proves irresistible to Robert, who attempts to protect her from the apparent danger posed by a powerful neurologist, Dr. Marianne Katz (Annemarie Duringer).

• Audio Commentary by Critic and Author Tony Rayns
• Video Conversation with Actress Rosel Zech and Editor Juliane Lorenz (30:00)
• Dance with Death (Tanz mit dem Tod), a biographical portrait of actress Sybille Schmitz, the inspiration for the character Veronika Voss (55:00)

Lola (Barbara Sukowa) is a popular singer and prostitute at a garish brothel, where the city's power brokers come for illicit pleasure. Schukert (Mario Adorf), a corrupt building contractor, is her devoted client (as a capitalist, he treats her as any other commodity). Lola's mother (Karin Baal) raises Lola's illegitimate daughter and serves as housekeeper for the city's new building commissioner, an upright and incorruptible man named von Bohm (Armin Mueller-Stahl). A demure Lola conspires to meet von Bohm, and they begin a chaste courtship (von Bohm knows neither Lola's profession, nor her relationship to his housekeeper). Later, when von Bohm is confronted with the truth, his world is shattered.

• Audio Commentary by Fassbinder biographer and friend Christian Braad Thomsen
• Video Interview with actress Barbara Sukowa (20:00)
• Video Interview with co-screenwriter Peter Marthesheimer (33:00)

The Supplements (bonus disc):
• "I Don't Just Want You to Love Me", a feature-length documentary of Fassbinder's life and career (96:00)
• "Life Stories: A Conversation with R.W. Fassbinder", a rare interview with the director, made for German television (49:00)
• Exclusive video interview with Fassbinder cinematographer Xaver Schwarzenberger (25:00)
• Video Interview with Fassbinder Foundation director Juliane Lorenz and film curator Laurence Kardish (32:00)

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