A scathing social/political satire that took provocative swipes at both the Left and Right, Mother Küsters Goes to Heaven proved to be one of Fassbinder’s most controversial films. After a distraught factory worker kills his supervisor and then himself, his widow (Brigitte Mira, from Ali: Fear Eats the Soul) finds herself shamelessly exploited by her careerist chanteuse daughter, the reactionary tabloid press, and the West German Communist Party, all of whom seek to use the tragedy for their own ends. Fassbinder’s film was well received abroad but sparked outrage at home; many were offended by its depiction of a German Left seriously out of touch with the working class. Mother Küsters was turned down by the 1975 Berlin Film Festival; its screening at the Forum, the Berlin fest's “fringe” event, was disrupted by left-wing protests. Fassbinder ultimately opted to change the film’s ending; both the original and the re-shot (and “ironic”) one are included here. “A witty, spare, beautifully performed political comedy ... If you weren’t already aware that Fassbinder refuses to make movies like anyone else, you have a far from solemn obligation to [see] Mother Küsters” (Vincent Canby, New York Times). Colour, 35mm, in German with English subtitles. 120 mins.
"A witty, spare, beautifully performed political comedy."New York Times | full review
"No other director understands the strength of mediocre minds as does Fassbinder; when his films don't slip into derision, they can be ineffably moving, as this one is."Chicago Reader | full review