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A perfectly normal love story - except that it takes place in Germany at a certain time: during the Nazi era and the Second World War and into the 50s. A man, a woman, a child. He is a soldier in the German army. She has to endure the bombings and the final flight from her home with her child on her shoulders, or hand in hand, making their way through the woods in the snow. Spring comes. The woods are full of dead bodies. The woman endures rape and the privations of the post-war years to build up her marriage again - only to break down in the end, like the whole brittle edifice of familiy bliss for which all three have waited so long - father, mother and child.

Helma Sanders-Brahms was born in Emden in 1940. She attended the drama school for music and theater in Hanover, and studied German and English Languages in Cologne. She worked as a television announcer for WDR and from 1976-1969 became a guest student with both Pier Paolo Pasolini and Sergio Corbucci. Under the Pavement Lies the Beach became her breakthrough in 1975. Heinrich (1976), her film on the life and death of the German poet Heinrich von Kleist, was awarded the German Film Award in 1977. Her film Germany, Pale Mother (1980) remains an international success today and is one of the classics of German cinema. Her other films include: Shirin\'s Wedding (1975), No Mercy No Future (1981), The Future of Emily (1984), Laputa (1986), Manouevres (1989), Apple Trees (1991), My Heart is Mine Alone (1997), Colour of Soul (2003), and Clara (2008).
Genre Drama, Love Story
Category Feature
Year of Production 1979
Director Helma Sanders-Brahms
Screenplay Helma Sanders-Brahms
Cinematography Jürgen Jürges
Uta Periginelli, Elfi Tillack
Juergen Knieper
Cast Fritz Lichtenhahn, Gisela Stein, Rainer Friedrichsen, Angelika Thomas, Elisabeth Stepanek, Ernst Jacobi, Eva Mattes, Anna Sanders
Producers Walter Hoellerer, Helma Sanders-Brahms
Production Companies WDR, Helma Sanders-Brahms Filmproduktion/Berlin, Literarisches Colloquium/Berlin
Length 123 min
Format 35 mm, color
Original Version
Subtitled Versions English, French
Sound Technology Mono
Festivals Berlinale 1980, Créteil 1980, Berlinale 2014 (Berlinale Classics), BFI London 2014, Cairo 2014
Awards Grand Prix Créteil 1980
German Distributor Basis-Film Verleih/Berlin