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RAINER WERNER FASSBINDER:BRD TRILOGY - DVD Movie
There is at least one certifiable masterpiece in Rainer Werner Fassbinder's BRD Trilogy, and one could argue that all three films qualify for that honor. Conceived as a series of sociopolitical melodramas set during West Germany's "economic miracle" of post-war recovery (roughly 1947-60), these exquisitely crafted films found the prolific Fassbinder (1945-82) near the end of his astounding career and at the height of his creative powers, depicting post-war Germany as a land of repressed memory and surging capitalism, repressively avoiding any connection to the horrors of its Nazi past. Women were Fassbinder's conduit to analyzing the BDR (Bundesrepublik Deutchland) and its effect on the German character, resulting in three of the most remarkable female characters ever committed to film.
As noted in an affectionate commentary track by Fassbinder's friend and fellow director Wim Wenders, The Marriage of Maria Braun (1979) is Fassbinder's undisputed masterwork, a critical and box-office triumph that fulfilled Fassbinder's goal of creating a "German Hollywood melodrama" in the tradition of his director-hero, Douglas Sirk. Beautifully shot by Michael Ballhaus (who advanced to brilliant collaborations with Martin Scorsese), it stars Hanna Schygulla in her signature role as a newlywed whose missing husband returns in the mid-'50s, just as she's reinventing herself through opportunism, seduction, and blind ambition--a woman, like Germany, determined to forget her miserable past, with explosively tragic results. "BRD 2" is the wickedly satirical Veronika Voss (1982), filmed in black and white (a stylistic nod to German'y's post-war thrillers) and starring Rosel Zech as a faded film star-turned-morphine addict making futile attempts to revive her career. Set in 1957, Lola ("BRD 3," 1981) is Fassbinder's homage to Josef von Sternberg's The Blue Angel, and stars Barbara Sukowa as a cabaret singer and prostitute who, like Maria Braun, is for sale to the highest bidder--in this case a straight-laced official (Armin Mueller-Stahl) who discovers the high cost of ignorance.
Taken together, these films form an impressively coherent vision, compassionate and yet brutally honest, unsentimental, and provocatively critical of post-war Germany. In the established tradition of the Criterion Collection, extensive supplements explore the depth of Fassbinder's achievement. Three commentaries, each with their own uniquely personal and/or critical perspective, are among the finest Criterion has ever recorded. Interviews with Schygulla, Zech, Sukowa, and many of Fassbinder's closest collaborators pay latter-day tribute to Fassbinder and his extended family of on- and off-screen talent, while the 96-minute German TV documentary I Don't Just Want You to Love Me explores Fassbinder's tragically curtailed life and work through abundant film clips and interviews. A filmed 1978 interview with Fassbinder himself--at 49 minutes, the longest ever recorded--offers further insight into the psychology and chain-smoking intensity of a man who burned out from drugs and exhaustion at the age of 37. Along with the collected Adventures of Antoine Doinel, the BRD Trilogy is one of the most impressive DVD sets ever released, and a sparkling jewel in Criterion's crown. --Jeff ShannonSee all Editorial Reviews
If VERONIKA VOSS isn't Fassbinder's masterpiece, it comes very close.
Being a movie about a fading film star, it features every kind of wipe ever used on a Hollywood... Read more
Much has already been written about this set, so I'll try to focus on what hasn't been covered. Very briefly, few of Fassbinder's contemporaries have re-evaluated this era of... Read morePublished on January 2, 2012 by M. McM
All three films are visually different but they are linked in an interesting way. Fassbinder is subtle, ironic, startling .... Read morePublished on December 5, 2010 by Peregrine Reader
These are amazing, beautiful and stylish films and among Fassbinder's most lush creations. See them if you haven't! Read morePublished on June 24, 2010 by Sean Yeatts
Everyone has their favorite Fassbinder film from the famous BDR trilogy. Almost everyone loves the classic that finally garnered Fassbinder the international respect he was... Read morePublished on December 8, 2009 by Andre Ali Seewood
"Maria and Her Men"
Sensual and tough Maria Braun (Hanna Schygula) marries a soldier in the middle of World War II and spends a half of day and the whole night with him. Read more
There is a very good lesson in The Marriage of Maria Braun. Don't leave the gas on. When you are done with the gas, on top of the stove, please remember to shut it off. Read morePublished on October 15, 2006 by LF
Of the three, Veronika Voss is the only one I very much wanted to see again. The week I rented it, I watched it upwards of three times, and ended up bringing it back late. Read morePublished on April 9, 2006 by Matt
I highly recommend this box set to anyone who enjoys movies, and particularly to anyone with an interest in Germany. Read morePublished on January 1, 2005 by Erik Andersen