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Secret of Joy, The

Secret of Joy, The

Production Report featured in
German Films Quarterly 02/2003

Helga Reidemeister, whose films reveal the balance of power within society that determines the lives of individuals, has turned her attention in her latest film to four women from different cultures and continents - in Afghanistan, India, Serbia and the USA - who demonstrate their opposition to nationalism and war.

According to Reidemeister the link between the four women is that “they all offer resistance and demonstrate great personal commitment. This decisiveness and this courage impressed me a great deal.”

“All of the women share the constantly reoccurring, painful question - what kind of world do we want to hand on to our children? Their decision is to set their own force against the madness of the time. They believe that resistance is the secret of joy,” she declares.

Reidemeister had been prompted to make this documentary by “the madness of the war that has been propagated since September 11. I wanted to object to the notion of an ‘axis of evil’ propagated then, contrasting it with an ‘axis of responsibility’, and to present a contrast between the dishonest military language of ‘robust peace keeping’ and ‘humanitarian wars’, and the reality of suffering and destruction. Something has already been achieved if we can at least get people to think about these things.”

She traveled to Kabul to meet with Djamila Mudschahed, editor of the women’s magazine Malalai and an activist in the Afghan resistance, and also visited the Indian capital of Dehli to see Arundhati Roy whose first novel, The God of Small Things, has been published in more than 20 countries and won the English-speaking world's most premier honor, the Booker Prize. The film also took the director to Serbia’s Belgrade to speak with Stasa Zajovic of the Women in Black organization and will continue on to New York this spring for further shooting to round off the film’s international perspective.
Genre Society
Category Documentary
Year of Production 2002
Director Helga Reidemeister
Screenplay Helga Reidemeister
Cinematography Lars Barthel, Yoliswa Gaertig
Doerte Voelz-Mammarella
Cast Arundhati Roy, Stasa Zajovic, Djamila Mudschahed
Producers Helga Reidemeister, Zoran Solomun, Dagmar Fromme
Production Company OHNE GEPÄCK FILMPRODUKTION, in co-production with WDR, ARTE
Format color
Shooting Dates New Dehli, Belgrade, Kabul, New York, April 2002 - May 2003

Helga Reidemeister Film
Helga Reidemeister
Pfalzburger Strasse 14
10719 Berlin/Germany
phone +49-30-8 83 35 59
fax +49-30-88 00 19 68