Effi Briest

Director: Rainer Werner Fassbinder
Year Released: 1974
Rating: 1.5

A foolish young bride (Hanna Schygulla) is mistreated by her much older husband (Wolfgang Schenck) so she flirts with a younger man, but rumor-mongering among the locals demolishes her reputation (the stress of which leads to ... you got it, la morte). Its familiar story is told in the most methodical way possible - Fassbinder, in some of his 'prestige' pictures, sure knows how to drain every single droplet of fun from the room (compare to the kooky zest of In the Year of Thirteen Moons or the personal wounded pride of Fox and His Friends) - though common wisdom states that an artist needs to find his or her 'voice,' here we have a radical with multiple voices ... some of which are better than others. I think it bears noting that I cannot think of another film in recent memory with conversations so extensively filmed around the mirrors in the rooms - the characters either speak into them or are reflected by them when speaking. Film theorists: GO!