In 1979, Rainer Werner Fassbinder retreated from the failures of Chinese Roulette and Despair with what, for him, was an extremely naturalistic and accessible work. The sublime Hanna Schygulla stars as a plucky frau perennially separated from her husband, first by war, then by prison, and finally by pervasive capitalist malaise. She channels her frustrated romantic energy into the construction of an industrial empire—a plot that mixes love and money in the manner of Mildred Pierce. Though Fassbinder takes a more open attitude toward his characters, letting them exist as fully developed psychological specimens, his deadly irony continues to operate on the level of mise-en-scene, drawing his actors into an unstable world of seductive surfaces and shifting meanings. Fassbinder argues that happiness delayed is happiness denied, tempering the film’s emotion with precise analysis. In German with subtitles.