The film that elevated German director Rainer Werner Fassbinder from domestic approbation to international acclaim, The Marriage of Maria Braun stars the director's on-and-off favorite actress Hanna Schygulla in the title role.
During the allied siege of Germany in the last year of the war, Maria's new husband (Klaus Löwitsch) is shipped off to the Russian front before the marriage is consummated. As she struggles to survive wartime deprivations, Maria haunts the local train station, seeking out information concerning her husband.
When it appears that she's a widow, Maria takes a job as a barmaid and befriends a black soldier (George Byrd) from the occupying allied troops, who sees to it that Maria's family receives vital food and supplies.
The opportunistic Maria eventually takes a job with a wealthy importer (Ivan Desny), building herself up to a position of power and indispensability. Though she sleeps with her employer, Maria still carries a torch for her husband.