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MAGIC HOURS (STERNSTUNDEN)

MAGIC HOURS
photo © HiHEAD Film

MAGIC HOURS tells the story of those who go unnoticed in the glamorous world of film: the background actors and extras. The film casts a spotlight on those standing at the very back. Through the eyes of the 84-year-old extra Johanna Penski and her friends, MAGIC HOURS contemplates the fascination with film from a very different perspective.

When Johanna Penski retired, she could have done just that, in the classical sense of the word. But instead, she saw her new situation as an opportunity to do something different with her time and to fulfill a lifelong dream. Johanna’s dream began in 1944, at the age of 17 she was an extra in Veit Harlan’s film KOLBERG. Bedazzled and star-struck by it all, she dreamt of a career as an actress. But after the war, her dream came to a bitter end.

In the meantime, the name Johanna Penski is on file with all of the big casting agencies in Berlin. She is proud of her manifold film shoots. The hallway in her apartment in Berlin serves as a star gallery and is a document to her “extra” roles in over 800 films. From daily soaps to an actual speaking part in a Wim Wender’s film.

MAGIC HOURS travels with Johanna Penski back to her past, accompanies her to film sets, and spends “normal days” with her and her friends Gisela and Hannelore: normal days which really aren’t very “normal” at all for three retired women. Open-minded, full of humor and zest for action, they defy the routine of ageing.

MAGIC HOURS turns the usual perspective of film and society around and shines a spotlight on those who are otherwise restricted to the background.


Henning Drechsler was born in 1973 in Gummersbach and studied Directing at the Academy of Media Arts in Cologne. Also active as a camera assistant, operator and cinematographer, his films as a director include: SPOILSPORTS (SPIELVERDERBER, 2007), ELECTROSTATION (ELEKTROSTANCIJA, 2010) and his graduation film MAGIC HOURS (STERNSTUNDEN, 2013).
Genre Society
Category Documentary
Year of Production 2013
Director Henning Drechsler
Screenplay Henning Drechsler
Cinematography Mathias Prause, Markus Stotz, Henning Drechsler
Producer Georg Nonnenmacher
Production Company HiHEAD Film/Cologne, in co-production with Kunsthochschule für Medien Köln (KHM)
Length 64 min
Format HDCAM, color, 16:9
Original Version
 German
Subtitled Version English
With backing from Film- und Medienstiftung NRW

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