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Die tödliche Maria (1993)

This dark psychological thriller draws us slowly but surely into Maria's strange world. Tension mounts as she is buffeted by interactions with her abusive husband, demanding father, and ... See full summary »



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Cast overview, first billed only:
Katja Studt ...
Maria (16 years)
Juliane Heinemann ...
Maria (10 years)
Josef Bierbichler ...
Marias Father
Jean Maeser ...
Heinz (Age 26)
Joachim Król ...
Rolf Peter Kahl ...
Renate Usko ...
Mrs. Dahlbach
Georg Winterfeld ...
Tom Spiess ...
Andreas Petri ...
First Aid
Nada Daniels ...
Ortwin Spieler ...
First Doctor
Peter Hommen ...
Second Doctor


This dark psychological thriller draws us slowly but surely into Maria's strange world. Tension mounts as she is buffeted by interactions with her abusive husband, demanding father, and meek paramour. This housewife, who initially appears outwardly unassuming and unremarkable, is shown to possess an inner landscape of the mind which is twisted and scarred. Techniques of German Expressionist cinema gradually give us insight into her psyche. Why does she write letter after letter to herself, stashing them in a living room cabinet? Secret after secret is gradually revealed, until the chilling and disturbing conclusion. Written by Tad Dibbern <DIBBERN_D@a1.mscf.upenn.edu>

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Release Date:

3 February 1994 (Germany)  »

Also Known As:

Deadly Maria  »

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Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
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User Reviews

"Surreal and expressionistic directorial debut ..."
8 August 2007 | by (Norway) – See all my reviews

German screenwriter, producer, composer and director Tom Tykwer's feature film debut which he co-produced with German producer Stefan Arndt and co-wrote with screenwriter Christiane Voss, is a German production which was shot on location in Berlin and Hamburg in Germany. It tells the story about Maria, a thirty-year-old woman who lives with her gambling husband and bedridden father in an urban apartment block. There is nothing in Maria's life that resembles happiness and her existence has gradually evolved into an utter darkness, but then she meets her neighbour Dieter who is a lonely collector. Dieter shows Maria compassion and warmth and a romance is born, but the question is whether or not Maria is capable of abandoning the darkness that has stigmatized her personality and accept the light that has revealed itself to her.

Distinctly and finely directed by German filmmaker Tom Tykwer, this dark and mysterious tale draws a singular portrayal of the life of an oppressed woman who is taking care of her vile and formerly abusive father while living in a dead end marriage with her predetermined husband. While notable for it's colorful milieu depictions, prominent production design by production designers Attila Saygel and Sybille Keiber, cinematography by German cinematographer Frank Griebe, fine editing by German film editor and documentary filmmaker Katja Dringenberg and use of sound, this character-driven and consistently intriguing study of character contains a cogent score by Tom Tykwer and composer Klaus Garternicht.

This rhythmic, somewhat romantic and poignantly atmospheric psychological thriller from the early 1990s which is narrated from the protagonist's point of view, is impelled and reinforced by it's fragmented narrative structure and the distinct acting performances by German actress Nina Petri and German actor Joachim Król. A remarkable, surreal and expressionistic directorial debut which gained, among other awards, the Bavarian Film Award for Best Actor Joachim Król, Best Actress Nina Petri and Best Young Direction Tom Tykwer at the 15th Bavarian Film Awards in 1994.

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