1978, TSPDT Rank #543
The first in R.W. Fassbinder's BRD Trilogy, The Marriage of Maria Braun contains stylistic elements and amazing cinematography that hadn't been quite as present in Fassbinder's work from about five years prior. For me, the later films by Fassbinder are great to watch because they are more developed, original, and intricate - compared to his arguably more primitive earlier films. With Maria Braun, Fassbinder and gorgeous leading actress Hanna Schygulla created an amazing character with a unique approach to life. Maria is shown as very in control of her life, using her talents to rise her above almost everyone in her environment (which is partly the interesting setting of the German homefront during WWII) to become the best. It's all for her unfortunate husband, who is ultimately unsatisfied with her efforts - it seems he always feels she does too much or too little for him. So despite Maria's triumphs and failures, Fassbinder takes it and turns it to tragedy, which gives the film a unique twist and more layers of complexity. Overrated in comparison to Veronika Voss (BRD #2), but still generally a great film.