My position (perhaps provocative) is that Margit Carstensen is a superior lead to Hanna Schygulla. The admittedly divine tragicomic histrionics of the final third of PETRA VON KANT are perhaps superseded by the sustained simmering ennui of the TV movies MARTHA and FEAR OF FEAR. The latter might be the ultimate Fassbinder in that it depicts perception itself as imprisoning and brutalizing. Society destroys cellularly.
It's tempting to want to compare this to Cassavetes' Woman. It's certainly more taut & precise. But it's also less purely a social critique (though it is that), making it something else entirely. This is RWF's trademark deep-but-merciless objective empathy, unveiling the psychology* that even allows for that oppressive bourgeois normativity (see title). Caven is perfect as the ne plus ultra of valium-era victims.
Nothing not to love about it! The way she maintained her tenderness towards the daughter whilst starting to lose it was unexpected (but what ever happened to the baby?).I'm in love with the scene when she's on the floor listening to music, shut out, so unaware and serene... just enjoying herself.
4.5 4.5 One of the first films that made me want to study psychology. Beautiful and scary at the same time. We are unable to look away as we follow this lonely woman into madness. Her anxiety comes from within, and this is something that compels us to watch for as viewers in her incredible performance.