With Allied bombs landing in every direction, an outwardly naive young woman (Hanna Schygulla) marries a serviceman who rushes off to the front and his presumed death just after exchanging their vows. While tirelessly trying to learn of his fate, she takes up with an American G.I. and begins to seduce a wealthy industrialist. The Marriage of Maria Braun, the first film in a Rainer Werner Fassbinder trilogy showcasing women in postwar German settings, is brazen and offbeat, brilliantly directed and unpredictable, even if it lulls in the middle before its shocking, extraordinary ending.
**** out of ****