Margot, who lives in a comfortable middle class apartment, fears that she is losing her mind after having had her second child. Her husband Kurt, who is busy studying for an exam, does not ... See full summary »
Margot, who lives in a comfortable middle class apartment, fears that she is losing her mind after having had her second child. Her husband Kurt, who is busy studying for an exam, does not understand her situation. Her mother-in-law and sister-in-law Lore are openly hostile to her. She resorts to valium and drink, and looks for sympathy, but to no avail. Written by
Gilman's classic short story "The Yellow Wallpaper" seems to be the model for this Fassbinder TV movie (not American TV--that's obvious). As in the original story, post-partum depression is only the immediate cause of the heroine's depressed, anxious and eventual insane state. In the story, the narrator's crisis is certainly located in patriarchy. I do not know Fassbinder or his work well enough to know whether Margo (Margit Carstensen) is suffering from straight up alienation or the patriarchal blues but most of the indicators point to the latter. There is far more focus on marriage here and male disinterest in or mis-readings of Margo's suffering than on social dislocation per se. Both the husband and the sincere, sympathetic brother-in-law fail, like the physician husband in the story, to grasp, to one degree or another, the nature of Margo's pain, which lead in both pieces, to deeper isolation and madness.
Perhaps Margit Carstensen's performance determines how one likes or dislikes this film. I thought it was as convincing as her ill looks, her ill eyes, her ill expressions, but I'm sure some viewers will disagree. For them, perhaps the film's restraint, honesty, and intelligence can be the difference maker.
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