Middle-class suburban bliss proves drug-addled depressive nightmare in this Diary of a Mad Hausfrau, which has Fassbinder regular Margit Carstensen (The Bitter Tears of Petra von Kant) as an apparently happily-married wife and mother suddenly stricken with crippling anxiety during her second pregnancy. Her fears seem to have no discernable cause, except perhaps her weak-willed dolt of a husband, her insensitive, interfering in-laws, and the stultifying banality and emptiness of her picture-perfect life! To combat her inexplicable panic, the local pharmacist begins supplying her with copious amounts of valium — but only because he wants to sleep with her. Fassbinder's flamboyant, melodramatic handling of the material includes swelling music and stylized subjective camera effects worthy of Sirk or Hitchcock. Made for German TV in the mid-70s, Fear of Fear was hailed by many as a major Fassbinder work, but it was decades before it received a belated North America release and it has remained largely unseen. “One of Fassbinder's finest works ...His most intense and compelling scrutiny of the human condition” (Richard Roud). Colour, 35mm, in German with English subtitles. 88 mins.
"Puts the preening melodrama of The Hours to shame."Slant | full review