Germany Pale Mother

Germany Pale Mother

A FILM BY: Helma Sanders-Brahms
WRITTEN BY: Helma Sanders-Brahms
STARRING: Eva Mattes, Ernst Jacobi, Elisabeth Stepanek, Angelika Thomas


When Helma Sanders-Brahms' GERMANY PALE MOTHER--taking it's title from a poem written by Bertolt Brecht--premiered at the February 1980 Berlin Film Festival, the film sparked lasting critical controversy. Praise for Sanders-Brahms' arresting images of a German mother and daughter enmeshed in larger histories of fascism and war, or for Eva Mattes' compelling performance as the film's protagonist (she won best actress for the role at the 1983 Munich Film Festival), sat alongside widespread hostility to the film's supposed sentimentalism.

This Director's Cut confirms Sanders-Brahms as a brilliant cineaste with a keen eye for the gender dimensions of German historical memory. GERMANY PALE MOTHER reconstructs in fictional narrative the very personal story of Sanders-Brahms' mother Lene (Eva Mattes). The film is narrated in voiceover by Sanders-Brahms herself, who charts shifting memories of her mother through three historical sections which are also stages in an unfolding mother-daughter dynamic. The narrative moves from Anna's fantasies of her parents' early marriage in the first years of the Third Reich, through memories of an intimate wartime mother-daughter bond, to that bond's unravelling in the domestic warfare triggered at the level of personal memory by Hans' return from war, and, historically, by the postwar restoration of the nuclear family as social norm. - BFI

Technical Information

Production Year: 1980
Country of Origin: Germany
Language: German
Run Time: 149 mins
Format: DCP