Run time: 88 mins
In Theaters: Tuesday 8th July 1975
Distributed by: Criterion Collection
Production compaines: Westdeutscher Rundfunk (WDR)
Contactmusic.com: 3 / 5
IMDB: 7.6 / 10
Director: Rainer Werner Fassbinder
Producer: Peter Märthesheimer
Screenwriter: Rainer Werner Fassbinder
Starring: Margit Carstensen as Margot, Ulrich Faulhaber as Kurt, ihr Mann, Brigitte Mira as Mutter, Irm Hermann as Lore, Armin Meier as Karli, Kurt Raab as Herr Bauer, Adrian Hoven as Dr. Merck, Ingrid Caven as Edda, Lilo Pempeit as Mrs. Schall, Herbert Steinmetz as Dr. Auer, Hark Bohm as Dr. Rozenbaum, Alfred Edel as Patient (uncredited)
Also starring: Rainer Werner Fassbinder
Here, pregnant Margot becomes convinced she's going insane when, a few weeks before her second child is born, she starts to develop a fear so overwhelming that her vision starts to freak out: blurring and wavering like she's looking across hot asphalt. We see the film largely through her eyes and can't help but feel the same way. As Margot seeks help for her problem, she turns to Valium, alcohol, and sex with the pharmacist. Her cold husband offers little help in any of this.
The story gets muddied by another creepy fellow who seems to follow Margot around everwhere she goes. Margot's condition doesn't really worsen, but nothing seems to help. Eventually the made-for-TV reality of the film comes forth ("She's drinking during the day!"), and if the frequent fade-out/fade-ins (where the commercials used to be) don't start to annoy you, the all-too-familiar histrionics of those old suburban dramas probably will.
When it's all over, Fear largely overcomes these obstacles, thankfully. The end result is a story about a woman vs. herself, at odds with the world, just like in Fassbinder's other works, but internalized to a degree not seen in his litany of work. The film recalls The Merchant of Four Seasons to some degree, bleak and hopeless, leaving the viewer with the unsinkable impression that there's no way this story could have turned out with a happy ending.
Aka Angst vor der Angst.