Bremen Freedom

This 1972 cinema-and-theater hybrid made for television confines its action to a stagelike platform that appears in front of a projected background. On the platform, which is furnished like a parlor, Geesche (Margit Carstensen) entertains her parents, a sibling, and a parade of husbands and lovers in a series of confrontations that demonstrates her increasing aggressiveness in taking over her family's business, something she achieves not quite mysteriously by serving coffee. Carstensen is a perfect portrait of hysteria and vengefulness and the perfect vehicle for the feminism of director Rainer Werner Fassbinder (who adapted his stage play with Dietrich Lohmann); the more perversely his female characters behave, the more consistently his narratives blame the culture that gives them no better options.

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