Michael Stadler
Michael Stadler

From an expectant mother fighting for custody of her unborn child to a woman who smokes marijuana with her son like a friend — the range of mother figures at this year’s festival is very broad. Indeed, one might ask: What does it mean these days to be a mother?


MONSTER INSIDE is the title of Christina Ebelt’s latest film, which had its world premiere last Saturday at the Sendlinger Tor cinema and will be shown again today at 3 pm at City 3 with the director attending. Perhaps the monster is the thought of approaching motherhood. In any case, Sandra, played by Franziska Hartmann, is pregnant, but in prison. The Social and Youth Welfare Office considers her barely capable of caring for a child — which motivates Sandra to start fighting now for her offspring to stay with her.

EARTH MAMA by Savanah Leaf is on a similar theme. Here, too, a woman is pregnant, and here, too, the joyful anticipation of having a child is mixed with a worry that it could be taken away from the mother after birth. Gia’s first two children are already in foster families, while she herself is barely making ends meet and is unable to shake off her drug addiction. This doesn’t stop her from fighting for custody. Intimate, visually expressive, young black cinema from the United States is waiting to be discovered. On Saturday, July 1, this film will have a repeat screening at the Astor Arri Cinema.

Where does a wife and mother who lives in poverty, whose husband is bedridden and whose daughter is soon to be married off, and who still has to feed her family, find the strength to carry on? Sales representative Shivamma at least finds some assurance in the marketing strategy of an energy drink and makes its advertising slogan “I will do it!” her personal motto. Jaishankar Aryar’s touching debut film, SHIVAMMA, shows how far this gets her at the Filmmuseum at 8 pm tonight.

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a respectable woman

The woman played by Hélène Florent in Bernard Émond’s latest film is in a no less difficult situation. A RESPECTABLE WOMAN takes us back to 1930, to the town of Trois-Rivières in the south of Québec. Rose Lemant takes her unfaithful husband back in after eleven years and finds herself having to take care of the three daughters he sired with his late mistress. This engaging portrait of a wife betrayed is based on a short story by Luigi Pirandello. It will be screened here as a world premiere tonight at 8 pm in the ASTOR Astor cinema! Bernard Émond is in Munich to show his new work to the audience in person. He will also be available for a Q&A at the second screening, Thursday at 8pm at the Filmmuseum.

Whereas Rose always wanted to have children, but children of her own, Blondi was never actually interested in motherhood. Since the abortion didn’t work out, however, she now has a son, Mirko, who isn’t exactly thrilled when she tells him that he was unwanted. Now the two have an intimate connection that seems more like they are siblings: they sleep in the same bed, smoke marijuana together and, because of family turmoil, embark on a road trip to a hippie community in southern Argentina. Lead actress Dolores Fonzi also directed this film, her first. BLONDI is her baby, so to speak, and as a casual feel-good comedy, it is sure to provide some joy at 6 pm in the HFF Audimax. Those who can’t attend Blondi’s adventures today will get a second chance on Friday at 8 pm in the Theatersaal at the Amerikahaus.

There is some distance between Evelyn (Julianne Moore) and her son Ziggy (STRANGER THINGS star Finn Wolfhard). The mother would rather help other people in difficult situations than deal with her own offspring, which leads to some amusing arguments. WHEN YOU FINISH SAVING THE WORLD is actor Jesse Eisenberg’s first film as director. Eisenberg previously played Mark Zuckerberg in THE SOCIAL NETWORK and came to Munich in 2019 to open the Filmfest with THE ART OF SELF-DEFENSE, in which he also played the lead role. What a sensitive director the sensitive actor Eisenberg is, is something that can be seen again on the final Saturday of the festival at 6 pm in the Sendlinger Tor cinema.

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daughter of rage

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When you finish saving the world

The opening film of this year’s festival, THE PERSIAN VERSION, will be screened again on Friday at 6 pm at the Sendlinger Tor cinema. In this witty culture-clash comedy, which earned the Audience Award at the Sundance Film Festival, a daughter gets to know her mother better. Yes, parents once had dreams, too, and also have emotional burdens that deserve their children’s sympathy.

Eleven-year-old Maria and her mother Lilibeth are struggling to survive in Nicaragua’s largest garbage dump. When a lucrative deal falls through, Lilibeth puts her daughter to work at a recycling center, then goes to the city to earn money, but never returns. Maria sets out one day to find her in a touching odyssey in DAUGHTER OF RAGE by director Laura Baumeister. On Thursday, this film will be shown at 9 pm at City 3 as well as Friday at 2 pm at the Filmmuseum. Both times Laura Baumeister will be at the screening and will answer the audience’s questions afterwards.

Just disappear: that’s what Cruz feels like doing, too. This mild-mannered wife, mother to a budding dancer and grandmother to a precocious granddaughter, is experiencing her second sexual awakening. However, neither church nor her husband respond in the right way to the desire that is building up inside this devout Catholic. Thank God for a sex therapy group for women, where she meets like-minded people in her struggle for more sensuality and self-love. MAMACRUZ is screening at 2:30 pm Thursday at HFF Kino 2, with director Patricia Ortega present for a Q&A afterwards.

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four daughters

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Olfa has four daughters to take care of. Unfortunately, she is unable to prevent two of them from joining the Islamic State in Libya. Tunisian director Kaouther Ben Hania adds a creative component to this true story by having two professional actresses play the missing daughters. FOUR DAUGHTERS premiered in competition at Cannes this year and can be seen in Munich again on Saturday at 5 pm at the Filmmuseum, where a whole series of films on the theme of motherhood was shown a few weeks before the film festival.

And yes, of course there are fathers, but they are often absent. In SCRAPPER by British director Charlotte Regan, 12-year-old Georgie’s mother has died and the girl lives all alone on the outskirts of London until her father suddenly reappears. Whether the two can somehow patch things up after long years of her father’s absence will be seen both on Thursday at 7 pm at City 2 and on Friday at 5 pm at the Filmmuseum.

See also

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