Helma Sanders-Brahms

Helma Sanders-Brahms

Additional Names: Helma Brahms (Geburtsname); Helma Sanders (Weiterer Name)
Darstellerin, Regie, Drehbuch, Bauten, Kostümbild, Maskenbild, Schnitt, Sonstiges, Produzent, Sonstige_Produktionsangaben
*20.11.1940 Emden; †27.05.2014 Berlin

Biography

Helma Sanders, born November 20, 1940, in Emden, attended drama school at Schauspielschule Hannover after finishing school and studied German and English studies, and pedagogy in Cologne from 1962 to 1965. Sanders then worked as TV announcer for WDR television before she went to Italy to assist and learn from the directors Sergio Corbucci and Pier Paolo Pasolini – an experience that encouraged her to become a filmmaker herself.

In 1970, Helma Sanders-Brahms made her debut as a director with the 30-minute long documentary film "Angelika Urban, Verkäuferin, verlobt". Although WDR television rejects the film for being too long, it won two awards at the 1970 Oberhausen Short Film Festival. As a result, ZDF television appointed her to direct the TV movie "Gewalt" (1970) in the "Kleines Fernsehspiel" series.

Inspired by the critical spirit of the late 1960s, Sanders-Brahms made critical, political TV movies and documentary films about working environments, migration, and the situation of women in post-war Germany, for instance, in "Die industrielle Reservearmee" (1971) that deals with the situation of foreign workers in Federal Germany, and in "Die Maschine" (1973), a film about the workplace at a rotary press. The writer and poet Heinrich von Kleist is the topic of two of Sanders-Brahms' films during that period: "Das Erdbeben von Chili" (1974) is the film version of the novella by the same name, and "Heinrich" (1977) is a reconstruction of the writer's life.

In 1974/75, Sanders finished the film "Unter dem Pflaster ist der Strand" ("Under the Beach's Cobbles") with a minimal budget. The film not only became one of the pivotal works of the 1968 movement but also marked a turning point in Sanders' artistic approach to the topics of her films. From then on, she tried to include the "subjective factor" into her films as well as to put her individual perspective and the perspective of her protagonists in a relation with the dominant social situation. The most important examples of this period of her works are "Shirins Hochzeit" (1976), "Deutschland, bleiche Mutter" ("Germany, Pale Mother", 1980), "Die Berührte" ("No Mercy, No Future", 1981), and "Flügel und Fesseln" ("The Future of Emily", 1984). The TV movie "Shirins Hochzeit", in particular, that tells the story of the tragic fate of a Turkish woman who flees to Germany to escape a forced marriage, made a great stir: The Turkish-speaking press in Germany started a campaign against the film that even resulted in death threats against the leading actress Ayten Erten.

But part of the German film critics also met the films by the director who called herself Sanders-Brahms since the birth of her daughter Anna in 1977 with resistance. Not least "Deutschland, bleiche Mutter" became the cause for demands to show more "objective" and less "sentimental" and "self-pitying" historical accounts instead of a "female recollection" in the spirit of the feminist movement. Abroad, and in France in particular, however, Sanders-Brahms' films were celebrated as masterpieces of New German Cinema.

At the end of the 1980s and the beginning of the 1990s, Sanders-Brahms focused on the living conditions in the GDR and the relationships to Federal Germany: "Manöver" (1988) is a comedic portray about life in the divided Germany of the 1950s, while "Apfelbäume" ("Apple Trees", 1992) tries to convey an inside perspective of the GDR. After the artist portray "Mein Herz – Niemandem!" ("My Heart Is Mine Alone", 1996/97) about Elke Lasker-Schüler and Gottfried Benn, Sanders-Brahms more and more withdrew from film making but still regularly wrote essays.

Sanders-Brahms did not return to the movie screen until 2003, six years after her last film as a director, with the melancholic love story "Die Farbe der Seele". She then retreated again for five years before she finished her next film: At the end of 2008, her film "Geliebte Clara" ("Clara") about the love triangle between Clara Schumann, Robert Schumann, and Johannes Brahms, a distant relative of Sanders-Brahms, opened in German cinemas.

Helma Sanders-Brahms died May 27, 2014 in Berlin of cancer.

Filmography

2012 So wie ein Wunder - Das singende Kino des Herrn Heymann
Director, Screenplay
 
2007/2008 Geliebte Clara
Director, Screenplay, Co-Producer
 
2005/2006 Schwarzer Schmetterling
Director, Screenplay
 
2003 Die Farbe der Seele
Director, Screenplay, Producer
 
2000 The Films of the Fishes
Director, Screenplay, Producer
 
2000 Glocken für Emden
Director
 
1998/1999 Muttertier - Muttermensch
Participation
 
1996/1997 Mein Herz - Niemandem!
Director, Screenplay, Editing, Producer
 
1995/1996 In der glanzvollen Welt des Hotel Adlon
Research
 
1994/1995 Die Nacht der Regisseure
Participation
 
1994 Jetzt leben - Juden in Berlin
Director, Screenplay, Producer
 
1994 Ein Schwarzer in der Traumfabrik
Director
 
1991/1992 Apfelbäume
Director, Screenplay
 
1988 Manöver
Director, Screenplay, Make-up artist, Producer
 
1986/1987 Hermann mein Vater
Participation, Voice, Director, Screenplay, Commentary, Interviews, Producer
 
1986 Felix. Episode 1: Er am Ende
Director, Screenplay
 
1985/1986 Laputa
Director, Screenplay
 
1985 Alte Liebe
Director, Screenplay, Producer
 
1984 Flügel und Fesseln
Cast, Voice, Director, Screenplay, Producer
 
1981/1982 Lügenbotschaft
Cast, Director, Screenplay, Costume design, Producer
 
1981/1982 Luftwurzeln
Co-Producer
 
1981 Die Berührte
Director, Screenplay, Set design, Prop master, Costume design, Make-up artist, Producer, Production manager
 
1980/1981 Der subjektive Faktor
Cast
 
1980 Rievkooche-Madonna
Director, Editing
 
1979/1980 Deutschland bleiche Mutter
Voice, Director, Screenplay, Producer
 
1979/1980 Joseph und die Gerechtigkeit
Voice, Director, Screenplay, Editing, Producer
 
1978/1979 Im Reiche des Schokoladenkönigs
Voice, Director, Screenplay, Editing, Producer
 
1976/1977 Heinrich
Director, Screenplay
 
1975/1976 Shirins Hochzeit
Voice, Director, Screenplay
 
1974/1975 Unter dem Pflaster ist der Strand
Voice, Director, Screenplay, Producer
 
1974 Erdbeben in Chili
Director, Screenplay
 
1973/1974 Die letzten Tage von Gomorrha
Director, Screenplay
 
1972/1973 Die Maschine
Voice, Director, Screenplay, Producer
 
1971/1972 Der Angestellte
Director, Screenplay
 
1970/1971 Gewalt
Director, Screenplay
 
1970/1971 Die industrielle Reserve-Armee
Voice, Director, Screenplay, Producer
 
1969/1970 Angelika Urban, Verkäuferin, verlobt
Voice, Director, Screenplay, Editing, Producer