Deutschland bleiche Mutter / Germany Pale Mother (1980)
One of the key works of the New German Cinema movement of the 1970s, Helma Sanders-Brahms' deliberate, involving Germany Pale Mother sets the history of that country during and immediately after the Nazi era against the autobiographical story of one determined young woman -- the filmmaker's fictionalized mother.

Narrated by Hanne, daughter to Lene and Hans, the film begins in the lead up to war. Lene and Hans meet, fall in love, and marry. The backdrop is of an emerging social divide between civilian membership or non-membership of the Nazi party. Hans, a non party member, is conscripted and stationed in France as the war begins. Lene, who is now pregnant, is left to give birth and raise their young child. Her husband now absent, Lene survives the harsh brutalities of war. Living in Berlin mother and child are subject to the devastating air raids. They take refuge with a well connected uncle, but soon have to leave Berlin, negotiating an all but collapsed German infrastructure, traveling under cover through forested landscapes, to seek refuge with distant family living in the Hanover region of Germany.

The film's story further unfolds, relentless episodes of fear, abuse and dejection take their toll on Lene. The war ends and Hans returns, but Lene is a broken woman, spiralling into an acute depression with somatic symptoms of facial paralysis. Hans is dealing with his own inner turmoil, but also trying to support a wife who is now verging on catatonia. The final part of the film covers the devastation of post-war Germany with some exploration of how families coped and negotiated this harrowing and impossible time.

Director: Helma Sanders-Brahms
Cast: Eva Mattes, Ernst Jacobi, Elisabeth Stepanek
Country: West Germany
Genre: Drama

BD50 | 1080p AVC | 02:31:13 | 42.2 Gb + 3% rec
Language: Deutsch
Subtitles: English

• Original director's cut (151 minutes)
• Blu-ray exclusive only: Germany Pale Mother - theatrical cut (123 minutes)
• Hermann mein Vater (Helma Sanders-Brahms, 1987, 54 mins): fascinating companion piece in which Sanders-Brahms accompanies her father to Normandy, where he was posted with occupying German forces in 1940-41
• Original theatrical trailer

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