Martha, a 30 year old unmarried woman is more concerned with her own self and is without feeling for others. She meets a young man who says he is not attracted to her but marries her. He tries to subdue and break her in their sado-masochistic relationship.
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I'm not saying this is his best film but it's my personal favorite Fassbinder film for personal reasons and preference. Carstensen and Bohm are INCREDIBLE in this film. Any fan of PEEPING TOM should see this film cause as good as Bohm is that, he's even better in this and he's not even the best performance. Cartensen owns. Ballhaus' cinematography is tops.
Stark, brutal melodrama about an odd, child-like woman's marriage to a sadist. Fassbinder shreds the genre down to its barest, most hyper stylized level with a sparser use of music and a simpler colour palette than usual, giving its grotesque hysteria an uncomfortable tension.
The thing with Fassbinder is that I often find his films dated and way too bleak (Buñuel, Godard and other great directors have more humour than him), but then I find myself thinking about them weeks later. Martha also have amazing cinematography and, like often with Fassbinder, staging.
Terrific film starring Jian Ghomeshi. Fassbinder consistently captures the complexity of the human psyche and the toxic dynamic in human relationships. Like several of Fassbinder films, the medicalization of human suffering is a theme with close-ups of his ubiquitous Valium 10. Fassbinder is useful in showing societal constructs as largely responsible for "diagnosable" behaviour and the danger of medical intervention
I was completely taken aback by Martha as I was not expecting such a gripping psychological thriller. I'd presumed it to be a lesser film from Fassbinder's huge oeuvre. It is not. It is tense and horrifying. A strong 8/10.
At best, we're only ever mitigating the toxicity inherent to social relations. At worst we're pretending it doesn't exist... RWF calls out our hidden inner Marthas & Helmuts; makes us face them. (He, above everyone, lived in the reality of his sadomasochistic dualism). Saw this on Dec 6th, which (in Canada) emphasized the repercussions of society's gendering of the dynamic. Powerfully unpleasant. Böhm was smarmy a.f.