Fassbinder revisits Sirkian territory with this melodrama, made for German television, about Margot Staudte (Margit Carstensen), a bourgeois housewife stricken with anxiety after the birth of her second child. Her husband (Ulrich Faulhaber) is too concerned with passing an exam to pay her much mind, and her in-laws (Brigitte Mira and Irm Hermann) offer no compassion at all. Margot takes refuge in the diagnoses of clueless doctors, cognac, Valium, Leonard Cohen, and an affair with a pharmacist. Carstensen is compelling in a role similar to her title character from Martha—a prisoner of suburbia, privately breaking down. Fassbinder borrows Hitchcock’s dolly-zoom from Vertigo to impart a sense of her mental state; “I wanted to take my mind off the fear” is the only explanation offered as to why Frau S. runs amok.