The German film, The Marriage of Maria Braun (1979), directed by Rainer Werner Fassbinder, is interesting and historical. It is however extremely similar to many films I've seen before, but has its own twist. The plot is almost identical to the recent war film, Brothers (2009). It has the two soldiers off at war and one comes back and says the other has died. Eventually, the deceased soldier returns and finds his life turned upside down. This plot is found in many films, it is recycled and popular film scenario that doesn't seem to get old. But what I enjoyed most about this film was the misť en scene. It had a strong realistic feel to it. For a few moments, I actually thought the film was being shot during World War II. The introduction of the film was so powerful that it set the mood of the film and the time period without explaining much.
Actress, Hanna Schygulla did an outstanding job at playing Maria. She was unlike any character I have ever seen before. She had a charismatic personality and manipulated people through it. From the beginning of the movie I felt there was something different about her and I was right. I thought the way she built her way to the top was rather clever. She was a smart woman who knew how to get what she wanted. Her motivation and strength was evident through out the film, which foreshadowed up coming events. I also found it interesting that Maria had an affair with an African- American. During the 1940's associating with different races was considered absolute taboo. But Maria had no shame; she did what she wanted despite everyone else's judgments.
In addition, I thought that the last scene in the film was extremely suspenseful. When Maria forgets to turn off the gas, it sets up a scary situation. I was on my toes the whole last seen, I couldn't predict what was going to happen. Are they going to blow up or what? But eventually Maria lit her cigarette and the whole house blew up. Overall, I thought the film was outstanding. All I can say is that I wish it was in English because I have a hard time following subtitles. They always take away from the film and become a distraction.