In World War II Germany, Maria Braun marries her beloved Hermann while he is on leave from the front. Hermann is missing in action after the war and soon declared dead. Maria makes a living trading on the black market and as the lover of a black American soldier. When Hermann unexpectedly returns, in the heat of the moment, Maria accidently kills the GI. Hermann takes the blame and is imprisoned. Maria becomes the assistant and mistress of an industrialist, a returning emigrant, and becomes wealthy – until the day Germany wins the football world cup … “M. Ballhaus, Amselweg 2”. The handwritten note on a fence is like the DP’s signature, as the camera pans over it before making an almost 360 degree arc to encompass the post-war scenery. Michael Ballhaus was a key factor in this film, the first in Fassbinder’s “BRD trilogy”. With his clear and sensitive camerawork, he refined the auteur film, turning it into star-filled cinema. He created an icon of “Young German Film” with international appeal in Hanna Schygulla, who won a Silver Bear at the 1979 Berlinale for her portrayal of Maria Braun. He also made a cameo in the film as Maria’s lawyer.
by Rainer Werner Fassbinder
with Hanna Schygulla, Klaus Löwitsch, Ivan Desny, Hark Bohm
Germany (Federal Republic from 1949) 1979