Tuesday, 14 May 2013

Deadly Maria (4 Stars)

This is a very creepy film made by Tom Tykwer in 1993. It's not a horror film, although it does have the atmosphere of horror. The film has an unsettling timeless feeling to it. Although it was probably taking place in the present (i.e. round about 1990) the apartment where most of the action takes place is full of old furniture, making it look like a setting from the 1950's.

Maria's mother died during childbirth. She grew up with her father who abused her. We see the physical abuse, and sexual abuse is hinted at. Her father keeps her as a virtual slave, a replacement for his lost wife. She has to cook and do the housework for him, and she is forced to drop out of school as soon as she is old enough. Her whole life is lived in her apartment and on the way to and from the shops. She has no friends. Her only hobby is collecting dead insects that she has killed in the apartment. She also writes letters to an imaginary friend which she posts into a hole behind a cupboard.

Shortly after she drops out of school Maria's father has a stroke and is unable to walk. She becomes her father's full time nurse. Her father arranges for Heinz, one of his friends, to marry her. She has no love for Heinz, but she marries him to please her father.

25 years later the three of them are still living together in the apartment. There have been no children, and it is a dull daily routine. Maria has to look after the two men, her father and her husband; neither of them shows any gratitude. A change comes into her life when she meets a younger man who has a life just as boring as hers. He spends all day alone in his apartment compiling a lexicon, a list of authors and books they have written.

The bad news is that this film has only been released in Germany. The good news is that the German release contains English subtitles. Click the picture above for a link.

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