The German Sisters

The German Sisters

(Die bleierne Zeit)
M. von Trotta / D, 1981
German / Czech subtitles, 107 min

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Juliane and Marianne are parson’s daughters who were born during the War and who grew up in the bourgeois milieu of the 1950s, during the so-called “leaden times”. Inspired by the “1968 Movement” both of them become involved in revolutionary social changes, but each does so in a different way. The older Juliane demands reforms as a reporter for a feminist magazine, while Marianne decides to join the “armed resistance”. She strays into illegal activities, but is arrested and held in isolation as a terrorist in a jail in Stammheim. Both sisters develop a closer bond during Juliane’s visits to the prison. Marianne later dies in Stammheim and the cause of her death is officially declared to be suicide, Juliane doesn’t believe this and her obsession drives her to try and prove that the relevant authorities were responsible for the murder of her sister.

In her third film, director Margarethe von Trotta portrays German society from the 1950s to the 1970s. This fictional story is loosely based on the real lives of two sisters – Gudrun Ensslin, a member of the terrorist Baader-Meinhof Gang, and her sister Christiane.

The film won two Golden Lions at the Venice Film Festival, while both lead actors, Jutta Lampe and Barbara Sukowa, were jointly given the Golden Phoenix award for Best Actress.

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Official page, (7.6/10)