Margit Carstensen

Margit Carstensen

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Martha Review


Good
Martha's (Margit Carstensen) father drops dead, then she's faced with a horrible marriage of abuse and Gaslight-class torture. Fassbinder offers up an extremely bleak work here, even for him, but ultimately the film works mainly as the diatribe against marriage that it is. The rail-thin and ghost-pale Carstensen doesn't really evoke sympathy; she's too freaking scary to make us wish for a happy ending.

The Niklashausen Journey Review


Terrible
Wow. Fassbinder made some bad movies, but did he ever make a bad movie with this one.

To the best of my understanding, here's what the movie is about. A man known as the "Black Monk" (Fassbinder, uncredited) suggests a shepherd launch a revolution among the lower classes after he claims to have been visited by the Virgin Mary and ordered to do so. The Black Monk suggests as well that dressing up his friend as Mary herself and parading her about might help her cause.

Continue reading: The Niklashausen Journey Review

The Bitter Tears Of Petra Von Kant Review


Bad
Why is Petra crying? Probably because she had to sit through this piece of nonsense that poses as a movie, a complete misfire courtesy of Rainer Fassbinder.

Wildly overrated by film snobs and Fassbinder freaks, this adaptation of his play is a stone-cold bore and a waste of two hours. Our titular crybaby Petra (Margit Carstensen) is a wildly successful fashion designer, the kind who has the luxury of doing nothing but lolling around her apartment in improbably lingerie and impossible wigs. When she falls in love with one of her models (Hanna Shygulla, the wondrous star of Fassbinder's Marriage of Maria Braun), they embark on an exploitative love affair in Petra's apartment (with the model treated as the victim), where the entire film is shot. (In fact, it is shot with very few takes, just long and lazy sequences where we follow the characters from bed to table and back again. This is meant to make us identify with the cold and distant characters, but it comes off as gimmicky instead.)

Continue reading: The Bitter Tears Of Petra Von Kant Review

Fear Of Fear Review


Good
Would that I'd seen Fear of Fear before The Hours. Margot's (Margit Carstensen) story (at least at first) maps almost directly with Laura Brown's (Julianne Moore) from the latter film.

Here, pregnant Margot becomes convinced she's going insane when, a few weeks before her second child is born, she starts to develop a fear so overwhelming that her vision starts to freak out: blurring and wavering like she's looking across hot asphalt. We see the film largely through her eyes and can't help but feel the same way. As Margot seeks help for her problem, she turns to Valium, alcohol, and sex with the pharmacist. Her cold husband offers little help in any of this.

Continue reading: Fear Of Fear Review

Chinese Roulette Review


Good
Whoops. When you show up at the country chateau with your lover, make sure your wife hasn't booked it for the same weekend with her beau!

Such is the basic premise of Chinese Roulette, which one-ups the notion of the ruined weekend by adding a crippled daughter and her mute nursemaid to the proceedings. Odd then that the child proves to be the most vicious of them all, as her game of "Chinese Roulette," essentially a truth or dare derivative, ends with gunplay.

Continue reading: Chinese Roulette Review

Margit Carstensen

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