I've now seen four film versions of Ibsen's "A Doll's House", and this has to be the best. The first thing that grabs your attention is the art direction/camera-work,which shows us everything through glass, through netting, or reflected through multiple mirrors. This really drives home the unreal hothouse atmosphere, the "Doll's House", in which Nora lives. (As is well known, the story revolves around her comfortable but barren relationship with her proud but possessive husband Torvald).
The acting is wooden, but it needs to be. Naturalistic acting would look out of place in such a deliberately-artificial setting, whereas the long static poses bring out the gilded-cage ambiance of the story.
The look of this film is typical of Fassbinder's classical period, which I consider his best; it produced such films as Petra von Kant, Chinese Roulette, and Effi Briest. Nora Helmer is at least as good as the others, it's a pity it's so little known. I had to go to a lot of trouble to get my copy, which doesn't even have English subtitles. (Fortunately, the story is so familiar that most viewers will be able to follow it; otherwise, watch an English language version first - the Jane Fonda or Claire Bloom versions are easily available).
I am pleased to say that the picture quality is good, considering that the movie was made for the tiny Saarland-TV and then distributed by the equally tiny All-video. Picture quality is essential in a production which depends so much upon artistic visuals.
Great stuff, one of the master's best; I hope it will get a proper release on DVD someday. Wouldn't it be nice to have a multi-set combining this with the Julie Harris, Jane Fonda and Claire Bloom versions?
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