Deutschland bleiche Mutter (Germany Pale Mother) (1980)





Critic Consensus: No consensus yet.

Deutschland bleiche Mutter (Germany Pale Mother) Photos

Movie Info

Based on the life of Sanders-Brahms' mother, fictionalized in the person of Eva Mattes. Ms. Mattes marries Nazi soldier Ernst Jacobi, remaining loyal to her largely absent husband through the fall of Germany and the grim postwar era. The couple has a daughter, for whom the aggressively independent Mattes tries to provide even as those around her starve to death.
Art House & International , Drama
Directed By:
In Theaters:
Carlotta Films


Eva Mattes
as Lene
Gisela Stein
as Aunt Imchen
Fritz Lichtenhahn
as Uncle Bertrand
Show More Cast

Critic Reviews for Deutschland bleiche Mutter (Germany Pale Mother)

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Audience Reviews for Deutschland bleiche Mutter (Germany Pale Mother)


With her film "Germany, Pale Mother," writer-director Helma Sanders-Brahms takes a contemplative look at the collective memory of Germany, bringing it down to a very personal level. The movie starts with a reading of the title poem by Bertolt Brecht, read by Brecht's daughter. The action opens with Sanders-Brahms(born in 1940) recalling the meeting of her parents, Lene(Eva Mattes) and Hans(Ernst Jacobi), which would have been romantic if not for the presence of Nazi soldiers on the scene. Neither is a member of the Party which while not a statement on their part still has consequences for them since Hans is one of the first soldiers called up to duty in Poland before being sent to France, as the couple at first does not decide to have children. As time goes on, he sees his wife everywhere and it becomes clear that they are changing, even if they do not admit it to themselves. After the war, there is no way to escape the horror of the war in the ruins. Eventually, it is put out of mind by the survivors, before leaving it to the next generation to recall it on their own terms, as the question becomes how much children really notice what is going on around them.

Walter M.
Walter M.

Super Reviewer


Dull and familiar, loaded with incidents of trauma that feel contrived and moments of forced poignancy. Such as when Mattes tells her daughter a Grimm tale while exploring the ruins of a crematorium. One of the characters in the tale says "you're in the house of a murderer" while they linger beside the OVENS! O, how meaningful! The film is just barely engaging enough to slog through it, and from a technical standpoint I have no complaints, but it's a rather dreary and unfulfilling experience.

Martin Teller
Martin Teller

A German mother and daughter trek through piles of World War II rubble. It's a stunning portrait of the effects of the war on the women at home, but it starts getting ridiculous when bad things start happening to these people for no thematic/dramatic/damn good reason. Plus: There's a really disgusting scene involving dentistry!

C.J. Arellano
C.J. Arellano

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