Fear of Fear | Movie Critic's Choice | Chicago Reader

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Fear of Fear


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Startling compositions and nuanced points of view mark this 1975 revelation about a housewife who begins to fear she's losing her mind shortly before the birth of her second child. The frightening thing is that she rarely if ever does anything so extreme as to overstep the boundaries of civilized behavior, yet everyone around her--with the possible exception of her husband--reacts almost as if she's a raving lunatic. In her quest for peace of mind, Margot (Margit Carstensen) becomes addicted to tranquilizers, has an affair, and occasionally neglects to cook a proper dinner, but to her mother- and sister-in-law it's as if she's committed premeditated murder. This isn't just an indictment of the way societies prescribe or circumscribe women's roles--though on this level it's far more persuasive than the 1996 Female Perversions--but a terrifying dissection of the psychological repression required of all of us just to get through the day. An extraordinary scene that includes a Rolling Stones song will be burned into your brain. Written and directed by Rainer Werner Fassbinder. Film Center, Art Institute, Columbus Drive at Jackson, Saturday, May 24, 8:00, 312-443-3737; also Facets Multimedia Center, 1517 W. Fullerton, Sunday, May 25, 1:00, 773-281-4114.

--Lisa Alspector

Art accompanying story in printed newspaper (not available in this archive): Uncredited photo.

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