Bil’s rating (out of 5): BBBB.
Germany/The Netherlands, 2003. Studio Hamburg Letterbox Filmproduktion, Tele Munchen Fernseh Produktionsgesellschaft, Get Reel Productions. Screenplay by Pamela Katz, Margarethe von Trotta. Cinematography by Franz Rath. Produced by Henrik Meyer, Richard Schops, Markus Zimmer. Music by Loek Dikker. Production Design by Heike Bauersfeld. Costume Design by Ursula Eggert. Film Editing by Corina Dietz.
Powerful true story about a group of non-Jewish German women who held vigil outside the detainment centre where their Jewish husbands were being held for seven days in the cold Berlin winter of 1943. One particular woman (Katja Riemann) is of aristocratic background and uses whatever powers she has at her disposal to get her husband freed, before he and those being held with him are deported to concentration camps, and most certainly, to their deaths. Decades later she relates her story to a young woman (Maria Schrader) who has come to Germany from New York to find out more about her mother’s past, her mother having been saved as a little girl by Riemann but now, in her old age, is unwilling to tell her daughter anything about her past. Margarethe von Trotta’s strong direction pushes this excellent film forward, aided by heartfelt performances and a lack of gross sentimentality. The period details are particularly excellent, and the film will be greatly appreciated by fans of Aimee And Jaguar and Downfall.
European Film Award Nomination: Best European Actress (Katja Riemann)
Toronto International Film Festival: 2003
Venice Film Festival Award: Best Actress (Katja Riemann)