The Stationmaster’s Wife

Movies Reviews
The Stationmaster’s Wife

Exquisite melodrama from the genius of modern German cinema

Edited by Fassbinder from a miniseries nearly twice the length, this darkly comic spin on Flaubert’s Madame Bovary concerns a small-town German civil servant, Bolwieser, who is cuckolded by his lusty wife, Hanni. Under the guise of investing the money she brought into their marriage (a fact she throws in his face at every opportunity), Hanni moves from one affair to another, while the town snickers in delight. Drawing equally on inspiration from Fritz Lang (including Bolwieser’s uncanny resemblance to Peter Lorre’s tortured child murderer in M) and Douglas Sirk (to whom he’d paid homage several years earlier in Ali: Fear Eats the Soul), Fassbinder crafts a fascinating examination of passion and pettiness, with Elisabeth Trissenaar’s powerhouse performance at its potent core.

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