The Personal is Political - The Films of Margarethe von Trotta

“The indefatigable feminist of the once-New German Cinema” Sight & Sound

The first female director to win the Golden Lion at Venice Film Festival, Margarethe von Trotta (1942-) is to thank for some of the most trailblazing films of the past five decades. One of the most gifted – but often overlooked – directors to come from the New German Cinema movement at the same time as Rainer Werner Fassbinder and Werner Herzog, we are delighted to be bringing von Trotta’s films back to the big screen for the recognition they deserve.

Often hailed as the world’s leading feminist filmmaker, von Trotta has never shied away from topics that resonate with contemporary lives and prompt revolutionary discussions. The power of mass media, historical events, radicalisation and women’s rights pre-#MeToo have all been visible elements in her films since the politically turbulent 1970s. Not to mention her wonderfully complex and outspoken female characters, precursors of those now taking centre stage in the best works by contemporary directors including Jane Campion, Andrea Arnold, Lone Scherfig and Desiree Akhavan.

The films we’ve selected for our tour represent the best of New German Cinema and von Trotta’s exceptional talent in portraying how the personal is political. The Lost Honour of Katharina Blum is a stinging commentary on individual freedom and media manipulation that still feels as topical as ever. The Second Awakening of Christa Klages is based on a true story of a young mother who robbed a bank in order to raise funds for her daughter’s day-care centre. In Rosa Luxemburg, one of the most fascinating figures in modern European history is brought alive by von Trotta’s long-time regular, actor Barbara Sukowa (Fassbinder’s Lola). And The German Sisters tells a prescient and intimate story of Germany, following siblings Marianne and Juliane as they fight for rights and revolution.

Courtesy of Studiocanal and distributed under the Vintage World Cinema banner, with thanks to the Goethe-Institut London and German Screen Studies Network. 

We’ve commissioned new writing on the influence and importance of Margarethe von Trotta from academics, curators and writers from different generations. Read them here. 

A leading force of the New German Cinema movement

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