Taglines: World War II ends and her story begins…
Director Max Färberböck returns to 1940s Germany (after Aimée and Jaguar, 1999) to examine a wartime tragedy that up until the last few years had been treated as fiercely off-limits: the rape of millions of German women during and after the Battle for Berlin, many of them multiple times, by the occupying / ”liberating” Soviet military force.
A Woman in Berlin adapts a diary published back in the 1950s anonymously by a German journalist. The eponymous “Anon” (or “Anonyma”) recorded her experiences during this period with painful objectivity, rendering observations of daily life and horrors befalling herself and her neighbors, with even, unflinching eyes.
At the heart of my fascination with this film are two scenes of (relatively speaking) normal life towards the middle of the movie. The eponymous heroine Anon, reunites with a dear friend in the rubble of the street where they are both make daily rounds to salvage for food. They come together gleefully, old friends. Anon asks her: “How often?” Her friend scarcely hesitates: “Four times. You?” Anonyma can’t answer her, just laughs. They are referring, as established by the first half of the movie, to the numbers of times that they have been raped by the Soviet soldiers.
A Woman in Berlin (2009)
Directed by: Max Farberbock
Starring: Nina Hoss, August Diehl, Sandra Hueller, Joerdis Triebel, Yevgeni Sidikhin, Ulrike Krumbiegel, Rolf Kanies, Juliane Köhler, Aleksandra Kulikova, Eva Löbau, Oleg Chernov
Screenplay by: Max Farberbock, Catharina Schuchmann
Production Design by: Andrzej Halinski, Uli Hanisch
Cinematography by: Benedict Neuenfels
Film Editing by: Ewa J. Lind
Costume Design by: Lucia Faust
Set Decoration by: Manfred Lohmar
Music by: Zbigniew Preisner
Distributed by: Strand Releasing
Release Date: July 17, 2009