Fassbinder’s obsession with mirrors is brilliantly showcased in this adaptation of an excellent novel by Fontane:
Mirrors represent masks not faces. They represent people hidden under fake personas: This is pure critique of the bourgeoisie, at it’s most baroque representation.
In ‘Effi Briest’, Fassbinder bares all, but absorbs emotions.There is no psychology: It’s probably his most Bressonian of films: Effi constantly questions her faith, ghosts that haunt her as well as her condition and her place in society.Fear is always visible in her eyes.The fear of disappearing , the fear of becoming a grown woman now that she’s married, the fear of getting caught, the fear of bringing shame to the family.
Set in Gothic sets, that reminds Cocteau’s La Belle et la Bete, Effi Briest is plain perfect from the outside, just like the bourgeoisie. But on the inside , it’s chaos.Behind million dollar paintings and beautiful gowns lie tortured souls, lost in-between duty and desire.