A single woman in her early thirties, Martha (Margit Carstensen) is on vacation with her father in Rome when he has a heart attack and falls down dead. She reacts rather indifferently and ... See full summary »
A single woman in her early thirties, Martha (Margit Carstensen) is on vacation with her father in Rome when he has a heart attack and falls down dead. She reacts rather indifferently and returns home to her highly-strung mother and begins to new era of her life taking care of a completely ungrateful and insulting mother (declining an offer of marriage from her boss). After a barrage of verbal abuse and offensive remarks from her mother who see's her as an 'ugly old spinster' she accepts a proposal of marriage from an equally insulting and disrespectful man, Helmuth. They honeymoon in Italy. While there Helmuth resigns Martha from the job that she loves, sends her mother to a mental institution, and lets his wife get horribly burnt in the sun while sleeping, then painfully rapes her. Martha gets back to Germany to find that Helmuth has rented them a new house, and she will not be able to return to her old home even to collect any of her things, which he says must be left behind her. ... Written by
Because of legal reasons, the film wasn't shown for over 20 Years. Cornell Woolrich claimed that the film has a lot similarities to one of his novels. Fassbinder replied, that he first read the story after filming was complete. Nevetheless Woolrich got a writing-credit, and after his death they were able to clear the rights. The first German screening of a restored edition was in November 1997. See more »
How a young housewife is trapped into submission by her husband.
No one can deny the poise,finesse and grace with which Fassbinder has directed some of the most charming women characters. This quality is currently being imbibed by some of the most talented filmmakers like Todd Haynes in USA and François Ozon in France. In this particular melodramatic film,Fassbinder is at his best and there is strong belief in the minds of true cinema admirers that "Martha" would surely rank as one of his best films.Initially the setting in Italy helps the film to build its momentum but it reaches feverish pitch once the events start to unfold in Germany. The two main actors are captivating. Karl Heinz Boehm has given a chilling performance as a bizarre husband. Looking at him no one can make out whether he truly loves his wife or troubling his wife sadistically remains his past time. Margit Cartensen is great too as the wife suffering humiliation at the hands of a man she thought loved him. To my mind, Martha would be of higher interest to all those who are keen on learning more about the depiction of women in new German cinema.
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