Mother Kusters Goes To Heaven

1975, Movie, NR, 108 mins

Review

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Applying his keen wit and ironic sense of man's hopelessness to the 1929 film MOTHER KRAUSENS' JOURNEY TO HAPPINESS, Fassbinder created another emotionally distancing, disturbing, yet always funny and fascinating picture. Mira (best known for her role in FEAR EATS THE SOUL) is the middle-aged wife of a browbeaten factory worker who blows his lid one day, killing the owner's son and then himself. The quiet and reserved Mira suddenly finds herself the center of everyone's attentions; reporters hound her for details and her face appears on every TV news program. She makes a deal with one reporter (John) to give him an exclusive interview as long as he doesn't make her dead husband look like a fool. But this is exactly what he does. What's more, Mira's daughter (Caven) uses this same interview, and the unhappy incident as a whole, to boost her singing career. A prominent communist couple befriend Mira and show an understanding of the husband's irrational act by applying their communist ideology to the plight of the helpless worker. Originally Mira hoped these two would help shed light on the erroneous article written by John, but they only use the woman to further their own cause. In the end Mira is left alone, her family too immersed in their own selfish goals and her fly-by-night friends having lost interest. In an upbeat, though subtly pessimistic ending (another version has her being killed), Mira agrees to have a simple meal with the building superintendent from the factory. This becomes the only non-selfish act she has encountered since her ordeal began. When MOTHER KUSTERS was first released it was praised by critics for being additional proof of Fassbinder's genius and ability to supply a starving audience with something new. In his own country, the film initially met with many political protests. Subsequently (though not necessarily as a result of the protests), MOTHER KUSTERS was barred from the Berlin Film Festival. Fassbinder was not being apolitical in this film; rather he was showing that politics was something that could not be trusted, along with family, friends, or anything else for that matter. A very dim view of life is revealed, but there's nothing like a cold slap in the face to help raise one's consciousness. (In German; English subtitles.) leave a comment

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Mother Kusters Goes To Heaven
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