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Germany Pale Mother (1980)

Deutschland bleiche Mutter (original title)
Germany 1939. Hans and Lene marry the day before the war breaks out, and Hans is sent to the Eastern front. During a bombing raid their daughter Anna is born. The house is destroyed and ... See full summary »
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2 wins & 1 nomination. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Eva Mattes ... Helene
Ernst Jacobi ... Hans
Elisabeth Stepanek Elisabeth Stepanek ... Hanne
Angelika Thomas Angelika Thomas ... Lydia
Rainer Friedrichsen Rainer Friedrichsen ... Ulrich
Gisela Stein Gisela Stein ... Aunt Ihmchen
Fritz Lichtenhahn Fritz Lichtenhahn ... Uncle Bertrand
Anna Sanders Anna Sanders ... Anna
Sonja Lauer Sonja Lauer ... Anna
Miriam Lauer Miriam Lauer ... Anna
Gabriele John Gabriele John
Johanna Karl-Lory Johanna Karl-Lory
Ursula Ludwig Ursula Ludwig
Lisa Örter Lisa Örter
Jeanine Rickmann Jeanine Rickmann
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Storyline

Germany 1939. Hans and Lene marry the day before the war breaks out, and Hans is sent to the Eastern front. During a bombing raid their daughter Anna is born. The house is destroyed and Lene and Anna moves in with relatives in Berlin. Hans survives the war but he is not the same person as in 1939, and he and Lene find it difficult to live together again. Written by Mattias Thuresson

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Genres:

Drama | History | War

Certificate:

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Details

Country:

West Germany

Language:

German | French | English

Release Date:

26 September 1980 (West Germany) See more »

Also Known As:

Germany Pale Mother See more »

Filming Locations:

Berlin, Germany See more »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Sound Mix:

Mono

Color:

Color (Eastmancolor)

Aspect Ratio:

1.66 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

The film is semi auto-biographical and is based on Helma Sanders-Brahms's parents. See more »

Connections

Featured in Die Nacht der Regisseure (1995) See more »

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User Reviews

 
This review is for the restored full length version of this very harrowing film
28 May 2015 | by Tom DooleySee all my reviews

Originally showcased at the 1980 Berlin Film Festival, this was initially criticised for being far too long – that being 151 minutes. So it was edited down to just two hours and has become seen as a German classic in the intervening years. It tells the story of Hans and Lene who meet before the outbreak of World War II and fall in love – both are not pro Hitler and so are not Party members. It opens with the poem of the title 'Germany Pale Mother' by Berthold Brecht and it is read by his daughter. It was penned in 1933 but to hear it today it would be easy to mistake it being about Hitler and the War.

When Germany invades Poland Hans is called up and so begins the long years of separation. In the meantime they have a daughter – Anna – who is the narrator of the film and tells their story through her eyes and the experiences of a child. The war is cruel and then when it is over the cruelties seem to get worse. This film spans many years and the heartbreaks and travails of just existing – let alone surviving.

This is not a war film – it uses archive footage (which looks very aged indeed) interspersed with the later material to try to place the story better in the historical context. The acting is all superb –but the story is depressing. It is meant to be depressing I think to ram home the cost of war and what it does to the body, mind and even the soul. There are some very hard to watch scenes here and at the full length this does need some commitment. There is a line that is possibly meant more as a plea than a statement and that is when Anna says 'who am I to judge, I was just lucky enough to be born later'. German speakers will not be impressed by the sub titles though – pretty average as far as they go. This though is a great film, it is one that the BFI have helped restore and it is a difficult watch, but it is also a film that needs to be seen if only for its message and it needs to be preserved in the hope that such folly will never be repeated.


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