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Fear Of Fear
cast: Ulrich Faulhaber, Armin Meier, Brigitte Mira, Irm Hermann, and Margit Carstensen

director: Rainer Werner Fassbinder

88 minutes (15) 1975
Arrow DVD Region 2 retail

RATING: 7/10
reviewed by James A. Stewart
Throughout his career Fassbinder displayed an enviable aptitude to produce some of the most enlightening examples of human emotions in film. His acute awareness on interaction and solemnity are legendary; he is capable of turning a small argument into a murderous lust at times. In Fear Of Fear (aka: Angst vor der Angst) Fassbinder favourite Margit Carstensen plays Margot, a typical middle-class German female who shortly after having her second child is struck down with a variety of ailments. One of which is inexplicable fear.

Margot's life is meaningless. Her husband is entirely unsympathetic to her plight, as are her in-laws who bide in the upstairs apartment. The anxiety attacks worsen and so Margot turns to drink and drugs to ease her burden. This begins a circle of depression that Fassbinder handles superbly. Even the aesthetics, Margot's dress sense and her overall demeanour are classic depictions of the depressed bourgeoisie. She slips further down the depression spiral without any recognition from her family, thus accelerating the descent. It would be easy to overlay this descent with multitudes of angst and conflict but instead Fassbinder opts to focus in Margot's journey south. Whilst Fear Of Fear is not in the pantheon of Fassbinder's most recognised works it is certainly a worthy addition to the collection released last year.

The cast play their part in understating their roles accordingly and Fassbinder's use of dialogue (albeit subtitled of course) is masterful. There is no need for melodrama to highlight Margot's increasing terror and subtleties of her steps through depression are terrific. Whilst perhaps not as famous as some of his other works, Fear Of Fear is certainly a beautifully shot picture with trademark Fassbinder touches.

This movie is available as part of the R.W. Fassbinder Collection: 1973-1982 a two-part boxset of all Fassbinder's films, released on DVD in November 2007.

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