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Mother Küsters Goes to Heaven

Thursday, June 11, 2015, 8 p.m., Dryden Theatre

When mass layoffs are announced, a worker first shoots his superior and then himself. His utterly helpless wife, Mother Küsters (Brigitte Mira), faces a catastrophe. Her son (Armin Meier) and his wife (Irm Hermann) do not want to be publicly associated with the “factory killer.” Mother Küsters’s daughter Corinna (Ingrid Caven), singer in a nightclub, uses the unexpected publicity to advance her career. A reporter (Gottfried John) writes a denunciatory article. The only people who support Mother Küsters are communists Karl (Karlheinz Böhm) and his wife Marianne (Margit Carstensen). Mother Küsters feels that they take her seriously, but her hopes that her husband might be publicly rehabilitated are in vain. She turns to an “anarchist” (Matthias Fuchs) for help. An almost impossibly touching portrayal of a working-class woman entangled in web of unwanted media attention and politics. Fassbinder reluctantly shot a special, more “optimistic” ending for American audiences, but later fell in love with it, claiming it to be far more poignant and effective.