MARGARETHE VON TROTTA (born 21 February 1942) is a German film director who has been referred to as a "leading force" of the New German Cinema movement. Von Trotta boasts an impressive body of work that has won her awards all over the world in the last forty years. She was married to and collaborated with director Volker Schlöndorff . Although they made a successful team, von Trotta felt she was seen as secondary to Schlöndorff. Subsequently, she established a solo career for herself and became "Germany’s foremost female film director, who has offered the most sustained and successful female variant of Autorenkino in postwar German film history." Certain aspects of von Trotta’s work have been compared to Ingmar Bergman’s features from the 1960s and 1970s. She says that it was thanks to Bergman's films that she "‘fell in love’ with the medium and its possibilities for representing inner psychic worlds."
Von Trotta has been called "the world’s leading feminist filmmaker." The predominant aim of her films is to create new representations of women. Her films are concerned with relationships between and among women (sisters, best friends, etc.), as well as with relationships between women and men, and involve political setting. Nevertheless, she rejects the suggestion that she makes "women’s films".
* 1 Early life
* 2 Career
* 3 Filmography
* 3.1 Feature Films * 3.2 TV Films and Series
* 4 Awards and Nominations * 5 Bibliography * 6 References * 7 External links
The child of Elisabeth von Trotta and painter Alfred Roloff, she was
In her early career, von Trotta was an actress, appearing in notable
films of directors
Rainer Werner Fassbinder and
Volker Schlöndorff .
In one of many interviews, von Trotta said: "I came from Germany
before the New Wave, so we had all these silly movies. Cinema for me
was entertainment, but it was not art. When I came to Paris, I saw
several films of
Margarethe von Trotta
Her first input on a film, before making a solo-career out of it, was on Volker Schlöndorff’s The Sudden Wealth of the Poor People of Kombach (de)(1971), which she also acted in. In 1975, they proceeded to co-write and co-direct The Lost Honor of Katharina Blum, which was based on an adaptation of Heinrich Bölls novel that dealt with "political repression in the Federal Republic." Within this first film of von Trotta’s, one can see the conflict "between the personal and the public" that resonates throughout her early film career. The female characters within the story must occupy suffocating spaces that von Trotta uses to represent the confinement that women are subjected to in a world run by men. Von Trotta was in charge of supervising the performance aspect while Schlöndorff dealt with the film’s mechanics. As a director, he was not considered to be very audacious, while von Trotta’s strong suit was in how she directed the film’s actors "through whom she creates her story." Therefore, the two were able to complement each other. Their film was considered to be "the most successful German film of the mid-1970s." The couple collaborated on one more film, Coup de Grâce (1976), where von Trotta helped to write but not direct the work, before von Trotta branched off into her own career.
Trotta’s first solo film was Das zweite Erwachen der Christa Klages , or The Second Awakening of Christa Klages (1978), which focused on "a young woman’s political radicalization." This film presented multiple subjects that Trotta’s films would be known for in the future: "female bonding, sisterhood, and the uses and effects of violence." The film’s script used real-life information about the seizure of school teacher Margit Czenki from Munich.
Throughout her years of filmmaking, Von Trotta has addressed many points of special concern to women: "abortion, contraception, the situation of women at work, spousal abuse, and traditional female role."
In 2001 she was the President of the Jury at the 23rd Moscow International Film Festival .
THE SISTER FILMS
Margarethe von Trotta’s second feature film was Sisters, or The Balance of Happiness (Schwestern oder die Balance des Glücks, 1979). Unintentionally, she created a "trilogy of sister films" with her succeeding works: Marianne and Juliane (Die Bleierne Zeit, 1981) and Three Sisters (Paura e amore, 1988). Barbara Quart, author of the book Women Directors, commented on the three works: "It is the quest for wholeness that is the preoccupation of von Trotta’s entire sister series." The women in these films are born into a traditional time (late 1940s and '50s), but they reject the positions that society has established for women. As well, the topic of suicide plays an important role in the first two films and how the live sister connects to the dead one. These three films investigate sisterhood and their bonds within a world that is falling apart all around them; this matter places von Trotta’s work into New German Cinema.
Sisters, or The Balance of Happiness (1979) delves into bonds, both physically and mentally, between sisters Maria and Anna, along with a third party. The siblings are close before Anna commits suicide, but hidden behind her facial expressions is a desire to escape this feeling of frustration between following what she wants and what Maria asks of her. Maria faces post suicide trauma, coping with her devastation by transplanting the memory of her sister onto her co-worker, Miriam. This ultimately leads Maria to deal with her inner issues so she can try to move on with her life in a peaceful manner. This film garnered the Grand Prix Award at Créteil International Women's Film Festival in 1981.
Marianne and Juliane (1981) also deals with losing a sister and learning how to handle the grief. Marianne and Juliane grow much closer after Marianne is put behind bars for her radical, terrorist activities. After unexpected news of Marianne’s death, Juliane becomes obsessed with finding out the truth behind the supposed suicide, which she doesn’t believe to be true. The characters are based on the real-life Christiane and Gudrun Ensslin , which made "feminist critics" give extra notice to this work in comparison to all other films that von Trotta has done. Critics question the way von Trotta structured the plot and why she positioned it from that of Christiane’s character, Juliane, instead of from Gudrun (Marianne). The film is characterized by the use of multiple flashback sequences, jumping between present day to childhood and everywhere in between, breaking any chance of a linear structure. In this film, it is predominantly the Nazi era that influences Marianne and Juliane, albeit in different ways.
A theme within Marianne and Juliane that von Trotta uses throughout her works is that of "the personal is political." In Marianne’s jail cell, the sisters come to terms with "their personal and political differences." One take on this theme is that Marianne’s personal past has fostered her political, terrorist present. In the story’s present day, her political actions effect her personal life: she is sentenced to prison and passes away in her cell, her husband takes his own life, and her son is put in danger. Not surprisingly, this film was the subject of much debate from conservatives who believed that Marianne’s character as a terrorist was given too much understanding. This film won the AGIS Award, FIPRESCI Prize, Golden Lion Award, New Cinema Award, and OCIC Award at the Venice Film Festival in 1981, along with a few more listed in the awards section. Von Trotta winning the Golden Lion was a true achievement for women in film, for an honor of this stature had not been awarded to a female director since Leni Reifenstahl received "the Mussonlini Cup" in 1938 for Olympia.
Paura e amore (1988), von Trotta’s sixth feature-length film, focuses on a set of three sisters—Olga, Masha, and Irina. It is through these females that von Trotta is able to present her opinions concerning the stature of females in society and the traditional politics of the time that play a role in shaping their lives. Once again, this film deals with sisters who yearn for significance in all aspects of their lives (Rueschmann, 168). Their constant quest for love is the way they cope with the unfavorable aspects of life. Compared to the other two preceding films in the "sister series," Paura e amore contains key melodramatic elements that focus on one’s feelings and anguish. It does not address politics as heavily as the other films, but more on von Trotta’s take of the distinction between men and women in society. This film was nominated for the Palme d'Or Award at the Cannes Film Festival in 1988.
Sheer Madness (Heller Wahn, 1983), one of von Trotta’s popular
feature films, also uses suicide as an important part of the
storyline. An analysis on the film given by authors Susan Linville and
Kent Casper reads: "suicidal states of mind may stem not from negative
distortions of external reality, but from an accurate assessment of
the way things are." Within this story, once again, women’s
feelings are investigated through the friendship between two females,
Ruth and Olga. This film gave the impression that, supposedly, von
Trotta was a "man-hater." Von Trotta won the OCIC Award-Honorable
Mention at the
Main article: Rosa Luxemburg (film)
Von Trotta’s 1986 eponymous film about the philosopher and
The common problem that filmmakers run into is budget issues and where they get their funds; during the mid-eighties, many films went under due to money cuts by the "German subvention system." Several of von Trotta’s fellow women filmmakers took the safe route and went into the education field in media. But not Margarethe von Trotta—to stay in the game, she accepted proposals for TV pieces, even if it meant losing a bit of her artistic allowances. Her first piece for television was Winterkind (1997), which was the first time she did not compose the screenplay for a work she was directing. She followed this with three more TV films: Mit fünfzig küssen Männer anders (1997), Dunkle Tage (1997), and Jahrestage (2000). Through her experience of working in television, von Trotta learned how to try to hold on to her stamp as an "independent filmmaker" in terms of keeping her artistic approach.
Looking forward to some of von Trotta’s more contemporary films, this same idea of female bonds and their emotions is still center stage, such as in her piece from 2003, Rosenstrasse. The film uses melodramatic elements, like in Paura e amore (1988), to express the emotions of the characters. The difference here is that Rosenstrasse is a "maternal melodrama." There are three overlapping familial connections involving "mother-daughter relationships" within the story: "the bond between Hannah, a first-generation Jewish American, and her mother Ruth"; "the…mother-daughter bond between Ruth and her Jewish mother Miriam"; "and…the central relationship between surrogate mother Lena von Eschenbach/Fisher and Ruth." In this, the definition of a mother is stretched from the "biological" standpoint to the "symbolic."
The film Vision (2009) chronicles the true tale of Hildegard von Bingen, a nun who stands for another of von Trotta’s independent women protagonists--one who fights the patriarchal society of the church by foregoing the established rules of conduct and, upon learning one of her fellow sisters is with child, asks for a different area for the nuns to call their own. In an interview between von Trotta and Damon Smith from Filmmaker Magazine, von Trotta explains her choice for the subject of her film: "When I’m searching for a woman in the very distant past, I look for a woman who is in a way near to my own vision…I am always attracted by a woman who has to fight for her own life and her own reality, who has to get out of a certain situation of imprisonment, to free . That is perhaps the main theme in all my films."
Again, a deep bond is witnessed in this story, as in the rest of von Trotta’s films, between Hildegard and a young nun, Richardis. Continuing with the interview, von Trotta says, "It’s not a lesbian love! At one point she says, ‘She is my mother and I’m her mother, I’m her daughter and she’s my daughter.’ Hildegard couldn’t have children, so in a way Richardis is her daughter and friend and mother ; it’s a very deep love."
Von Trotta wanted to make a film with a female protagonist that viewers could relate to instead of looking at her from below, as she clarifies in an interview with Zeitgeist Films: "The figures that appeal to me are always strong women who also have moments of weakness; therefore, I never try to make heroines out of them. Instead I show how they fought to find their own way, how they put themselves out there, and how much they had to swallow in order to find themselves. I am fascinated by how they overcome obstacles in order to achieve their goals. Hildegard von Bingen had a dream of founding her own abbey, and she suffered a lot of setbacks in the process. The moments of her greatest weakness are when the nun Richardis is to be taken away from her. In this situation, she behaves either like a small, abandoned child, or with fury. This conduct is all recorded in her letters. And it is precisely these moments of extreme self-abandonment that I find so beautiful, surprising, and contradictory. Hildegard von Bingen demands for herself what she usually gives to others. I absolutely did not want to portray her as a saint."
YEAR TITLE NOTES
1975 The Lost Honour of Katharina Blum (Die verlorene Ehre der Katharina Blum)
1978 The Second Awakening of Christa Klages (Das zweite Erwachen der Christa Klages)
1979 Sisters, or the Balance of Happiness (Schwestern oder die Balance des Glücks)
1981 Marianne and Juliane (Die bleierne Zeit) Also known by the English title of Two German Sisters
1983 Sheer Madness (Heller Wahn)
1988 Felix Segment "Eva"
1988 Love and Fear (Fürchten und Lieben / Paura e amore)
1990 The African Woman (Die Rückkehr / L'africana)
1993 The Long Silence (Zeit des Zorns / Il lungo silenzio)
1995 The Promise (Das Versprechen)
2006 Ich bin die Andere (de) (I Am the Other Woman)
2009 Vision (Vision – Aus dem Leben der Hildegard von Bingen)
TV FILMS AND SERIES
* Winterkind 1997 (TV movie)
* Mit fünfzig küssen Männer anders (de) 1998 (TV movie)
* Dunkle Tage 1999 (TV movie)
* Jahrestage (de) 2000 (TV miniseries)
* Die andere Frau (The Other Woman) 2004 (TV movie)
AWARDS AND NOMINATIONS
* Won Critics Award at German Critics Association Awards in Film.
* Won Grand Prix Award at Créteil International Women's Film Festival for Sisters, or The Balance of Happiness (1979). * Won Critics Award at the German Critics Association Awards in Film. * Won Honorable Mention at Valladolid International Film Festival for Marianne and Juliane (1981). * Won AGIS Award, FIPRESCI Prize, Golden Lion Award, New Cinema Award, and OCIC Award at Venice Film Festival for Marianne and Juliane (1981).
* Won David Award at David di Donatello Awards in Best Foreign Director for Marianne and Juliane (1981). * Nominated for David Award at David di Donatello Awards in Best Foreign Film for Marianne and Juliane (1981).
* Won OCIC Award-Honorable Mention at
* Nominated for Palme d'Or at Cannes Film Festival for Rosa Luxemburg (1986).
* Won Guild Film Award-Gold at Guild of German Art House Cinemas in
German Film for
* Nominated for Palme d'Or at Cannes Film Festival for Paura e amore (1988).
* Won Most Popular Film and Prize of the Ecumenical Jury at Montreal World Film Festival for Il Lungo Silenzio (1993).
* Won Career Award at Flaiano International Prizes in Cinema.
* Won Bavarian Film Award at Bavarian Film Awards in Best Direction for Das Versprechen (1995). * Won Guild Film Award-Gold at Guild of German Art House Cinemas in German Film for Das Versprechen (1995).
* Won Audience Camera Award at Golden Camera,
* Won SIGNIS Award-Honorable Mention and UNICEF Award at Venice Film Festival for Rosenstrasse (2003). * Nominated for Golden Lion Award at Venice Film Festival for Rosentrasse (2003).
* Won David Award at David di Donatello Awards in Best European Film for Rosenstrasse (2003). (Tied with Dogville (2003)). * Won Golden Globe Award at Golden Globes, Italy in Best European Film for Rosentrasse (2003). * Won Honorary Award at Hessian Film Awards. * Won Taormina Arte Award at Taormina International Film Festival.
* Andac, Ben. "Margarethe Von Trotta." Senses of Cinema. Web. 4 May 2012. . * "Awards for Margarethe Von Trotta." IMDb. IMDb.com. Web. 2 May 2012. . * "Birds Eye View: Filmmaker Focus: Margarethe Von Trotta." 2011 Film Festival: Celebrating Women Filmmakers. Birds Eye View. Web. 2 May 2012. . * Eifler, Margret. "Margarethe Von Trotta as Filmmaker: Biographical Retrospectives." The German Quarterly 76.4 (2003): 443-48. JSTOR 3252242. * Gerhardt, Christina. “RAF as German and Family History: Von Trotta’s Marianne and Juliane and Petzold’s The State I Am in.” The Place of Politics in German Film. Ed. Martin Blumenthal-Barby (Bielefeld: Aisthesis, 2014). 166-184. Print. * Gollub, Christian-Albrecht. " Volker Schlöndorff and Margarethe Von Trotta: Transcending the Genres." New German Filmmakers: From Oberhausen through the 1970s. Ed. Klaus Phillips. New York: Ungar Pub., 1984. 266-302. Print. * "An Interview with Margarethe Von Trotta: Director of ‘Vision’" Interview by Zeitgeist Films. Spirituality Practice. Zeitgeist Films. Web. 3 May 2012. . * Kuttenberg, Eva. "The Hidden Face of Narcissus: Suicide as Poetic Speech in Margarethe Von Trotta's Early Films." Women in German Yearbook: Feminist Studies in German Literature ">
* ^ A B "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 10 January
2012. Retrieved 2012-05-07. "Birds Eye View: Filmmaker Focus:
Margarethe Von Trotta." 2011 Film Festival: Celebrating Women
Filmmakers. Birds Eye View. Web. 2 May 2012.
Margarethe von Trotta
* t * e
Films directed by
Margarethe von Trotta
* The Lost Honour of Katharina Blum
The Second Awakening of Christa Klages
Sisters, or the Balance of Happiness
Marianne and Juliane
* WorldCat Identities * VIAF : 95211657 * LCCN : n84155101 * ISNI : 0000 0000 7246 2168 * GND : 118760998 * SUDOC : 035547235 * BNF : cb13195899x (data) * NKC : pna2005311714 * BNE : XX1794603 * RKD : 309116 * IATH