Martha in reverse
Stalwart Kreinblaster | Xanadu | 12/05/2005
(5 out of 5 stars)
"By 1976 Fassbinder had perfected his unique visual style. Michael Balhaus, the virtuosic director of photography, was at his peak and he seemed more in tune with what Fassbinder was trying to convey in his cinema. 'Stationmaster's Wife' would be one of Fassbinder's hardest hitting films of the period. The look of the movie anticipates the dark soft lighting of Berlin Alexanderplatz, yet uses the same successful plot techniques of earlier gems like 'Martha', 'Merchant of Four Seasons', 'Ali', etc. The final scenes, in particular, remind me of the first scenes of 'Berlin Alexanderplatz' in which Franz Biberkopf is released from prison after 4 years (Bolweiser is also sentenced to 4 years) - and somehow I can imagine Bolweiser having an equally difficult time returning to society. This is clearly the beginning of Fassbinder's final phase as a director. He is starting to confront Germany's past in a way that had not been done since Luchino Visconti's 'The Damned' (one of Fassbinder's favorite movies)."
The Stationmaster's Wife: When Love Becomes Colder than Deat
G. Merritt | Boulder, CO | 01/05/2009
(4 out of 5 stars)
"Film critic Roger Ebert was wrong when he wrote in 1983 review: "When Rainer Werner Fassbinder is good, he is very, very good. And when he is bad, he makes 'Bolweiser'." Based on an Oskar Maria Graf novel, Fassbinder's 111-minute film was originally produced as a three-hour drama for German television. Set in late-1920s Bavaria, it tells the story of a pathetic railroad stationmaster, Bolweiser (Kurt Raab), and his promiscuous wife, Hanni (Elisabeth Trissenaar), who beds both the town butcher and her hairdresser. Because of his unwavering love and trust for his selfish wife, Bolweiser refuses to believe town gossip about his her affair, and even perjures himself in Hanni's defense, thereby resulting in his own self-destruction. The lesson of Fassbinder's first film was that Love Is Colder Than Death. Bolweiser learns the same lesson in The Stationmaster's Wife. He is ultimately destroyed by his love for Hanni. Photographed by Michael Balhaus, The Stationmaster's Wife easily ranks among Fassbinder's most beautiful and haunting films.