Martha 1973 M
7.45PM Wed 8 Nov 2017
GOMA | Cinema A | Free
I find women more interesting. They don't interest me just because they're oppressed – it's not that simple. The societal conflicts in women are more interesting because on the one hand women are oppressed, but in my opinion they also provoke this oppression as a result of their position in society, and in turn use it as a terror tactic. – Fassbinder
The title character in this brutal dissection of a bourgeois marriage takes her name from Martha Hyer, a star of 1950's Hollywood melodramas. But the Martha here (played by Margit Carstensen) is a meek, virginal librarian, vacationing in Rome with her domineering father. When he dies suddenly, Martha is released of one patriarchal hold only to find herself under the spell of another: her swift marriage to a wealthy, magnetic civil engineer (Peeping Tom's Karlheinz Böhm). Initially taken with Helmet's dominant personality, Martha accepts his insults and humiliation of her with no question. But as Helmet enacts a program of control that encompasses everything from Martha's taste in music to her diet and ultimately her entire body, Martha's submission turns her into a prisoner of Helmet's sadism. Fassbinder's baroque abstraction veers from social comedy to psychological horror with deftness, anchored by the forceful performances of Carstensen and Böhm.
M | Mature themes
16MM TRANSFERRED TO DCP, 1.33:1, COLOUR (EASTMANCOLOR), MONO, 112/116 MINUTES, WEST GERMANY, GERMAN/ITALIAN (ENGLISH SUBTITLES) / DIRECTOR/SCRIPT: RAINER WERNER FASSBINDER / BASED ON THE STORY 'FOR THE REST OF HER LIFE' BY CORNELL WOOLRICH / CINEMATOGRAPHER: MICHAEL BALLHAUS / EDITOR: LIESGRET SCHMITT-KLINK / PRODUCTION DESIGNER: KURT RAAB / ART DIRECTOR: LOTHAR SCHULZ / COSTUME DESIGNER: GISELA RÖCKEN / CAST: MARGIT CARSTENSEN, KARLHEINZ BÖHM, GISELA FACKELDEY / PRODUCTION CO: PRO-JECT FILMPRODUKTION, MUNICH; WESTDEUTSCHER RUNDFUNK, KÖLN / PRINT SOURCE/RIGHTS: STUDIO CANAL GERMANY