The Marriage of Maria Braun (1978)

THE BDR TRILOGY

By the age of 34, German director Rainer Werner Fassbinder had already directed 22 feature films. In 1978, he embarked upon a project to trace the history of postwar Germany in a series of films told through the eyes of three remarkable women. Fassbinder’s The Marriage of Maria Braun, Lola and Veronika Voss—the BRD (Bundesrepublik Deutschland) Trilogy—would garner him the international acclaim he had always yearned for and place him foremost in the canon of new German cinema. These three films influenced my design vision and craft for nearly a decade.

Maria (Hanna Schygulla) marries Hermann Braun in the last days of World War II, only to have him disappear in the war. Alone, Maria uses her beauty and ambition to prosper in Germany’s “economic miracle” of the 1950s. Fassbinder’s biggest international box-office success and the first part of his “postwar trilogy,” The Marriage of Maria Braun is a heartbreaking study of a woman picking herself up from the ruins of her own life, as well as a pointed metaphorical attack on a society determined to forget its past.

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