Title

Fassbinder’s The Marriage of Maria Braun: Maria Braun’s Containment

Subject Area

German Studies

Abstract

Fassbinder’s Film The Marriage of Maria Braun chronicles a twofold rise: That of the German society during the years of the Economic Miracle and the ascent of Maria Braun who rides the waves of a phenomenal economic success only to perish in a cataclysmic ending.

To escape the tumultuous landscape of war, Maria ventures into the personal domain of what will become the inner repository of a fancied marriage. This paper proposes to read the film as continuous portrayal of containments. Against the titular protagonist’s efforts toward liberation and emancipation, her endeavors become the motor of a consistently growing network of limitations that denounce both the history of the West-German miracle of growth and Maria’s persistent self-definition as “Frau Braun.” Much like Maria’s idealized marriage that becomes a personal prison, Fassbinder exhibits the ideology of the newborn nation as a trajectory into failure and discontent.

Fassbinder frames his film visually by images of federal chancellors. At the beginning of the film, Hitler’s portrait still adorns the wall of the registry office where Maria and Hermann Braun are about to enter marriage. At the end, the portraits of the West-German chancellors from Adenauer to Schmidt continue the narrative after Maria’s demise. The film’s framing device forms an arc marked by a series telling sites/sights and sounds. This paper analyzes the various ways in which their historical meaning, unbeknownst to the protagonist, encapsulates her every move.

Brief Bio Note

Edith H. Krause received her Ph. D. from New York University. Currently, she is Professor of German and Chair of the Department of Modern Languages and Literatures at Duquesne University in Pittsburgh where she teaches all levels of German language, literature, and culture. Her research focuses primarily on 19th and 20th century German literature and includes comparative, interdisciplinary, philosophical, and feminist aspects.

Keywords

Fassbinder, Marriage, Maria Braun, Film, Economic miracle

Location

Room 211

Presentation Year

2015

Start Date

3-27-2015 1:30 PM

End Date

3-27-2015 2:45 PM

Embargo

5-23-2017

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Mar 27th, 1:30 PM Mar 27th, 2:45 PM

Fassbinder’s The Marriage of Maria Braun: Maria Braun’s Containment

Room 211

Fassbinder’s Film The Marriage of Maria Braun chronicles a twofold rise: That of the German society during the years of the Economic Miracle and the ascent of Maria Braun who rides the waves of a phenomenal economic success only to perish in a cataclysmic ending.

To escape the tumultuous landscape of war, Maria ventures into the personal domain of what will become the inner repository of a fancied marriage. This paper proposes to read the film as continuous portrayal of containments. Against the titular protagonist’s efforts toward liberation and emancipation, her endeavors become the motor of a consistently growing network of limitations that denounce both the history of the West-German miracle of growth and Maria’s persistent self-definition as “Frau Braun.” Much like Maria’s idealized marriage that becomes a personal prison, Fassbinder exhibits the ideology of the newborn nation as a trajectory into failure and discontent.

Fassbinder frames his film visually by images of federal chancellors. At the beginning of the film, Hitler’s portrait still adorns the wall of the registry office where Maria and Hermann Braun are about to enter marriage. At the end, the portraits of the West-German chancellors from Adenauer to Schmidt continue the narrative after Maria’s demise. The film’s framing device forms an arc marked by a series telling sites/sights and sounds. This paper analyzes the various ways in which their historical meaning, unbeknownst to the protagonist, encapsulates her every move.