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madonnas (madonnen)

madonnas
Scene from "madonnas" (photo © Pandora Film)

Rita flees to Belgium with her baby because she is wanted for theft and other offenses in Germany. She sets out in search of her natural father whom she has never met. But he has a wife and children. Rita's sudden appearance causes complications in the family. She is eventually arrested by the Belgian police and deported to Germany where she serves a lengthy prison sentence.

During this time, Rita's four other children live with Rita's mother Isabella. She runs a restaurant and has little time for the children. Fanny, the eldest, has to look after her siblings.

After Rita is released from prison, she takes her children back again – against the wishes of her mother Isabella. With the help of Marc – an American soldier stationed in Germany – an almost normal family life develops. But Rita doesn't trust Marc's feelings. They don't fit into the pattern of her previous experiences. Rita resumes her former lifestyle. She sees other men and pilfers with a girlfriend. When Marc announces he is to be posted back in the USA, Rita's life is thrown off balance.

The film gradually unveils a portrait of a woman who claims her mother was never a mother to her. But then she herself has one child after the next which she foists on her mother, forcing her to take on the role she denied Rita.


Maria Speth studied at the “Konrad Wolf” University of Film and Television in Babelsberg and worked as an editing and directing assistant on various films and TV programs. Her award-winning films as a writer/director include: BAREFOOT (BARFUSS, short, 1999, 3sat Award Oberhausen), her feature debut THE DAYS BETWEEN (IN DEN TAG HINEIN, 2001, VPRO Tiger Award Rotterdam, Grand Prix du Jury Créteil, MFG Star), MADONNAS (MADONNEN, 2007, Hessian Film Award, Silver Astor Mar del Plata), 9 LIVES (9 LEBEN, 2011, German Director’s Award Metropolis, DEFA Foundation’s Incentive Award, Open Eyes Youth Jury Award), and DAUGHTERS (TÖCHTER, 2014).
Genre Drama
Category Feature
Year of Production 2007
Director Maria Speth
Screenplay Maria Speth
Cinematography Reinhold Vorschneider
Dietmar Kraus, Ludo Troch, Maria Speth
Tim Pannen, Igor Gabriel, Marion Foradori
Cast Luisa Sappelt, Sandra Hüller, Coleman Orlando Swinton, Susanne Lothar, Gerti Drassl, Oliver Gourmet
Producers Christoph Friedel, Claudia Steffen, Jean-Pierre Dardenne, Pascal Traechslin, Luc Dardenne
Production Company Pandora Film Produktion, in co-production with ZDF Das kleine Fernsehspiel, Les Films du Fleuve/Liége, Cineworx/Basel
Length 125 min
Format 35 mm, color
Original Version
 German/French/English
Subtitled Version English
Sound Technology Dolby Digital
Festivals Berlin 2007 (Forum), Mar del Plata 2007 (In Competition), Créteil 2007 (In Competition), BAFICI Buenos Aires 2007, Karlovy Vary 2007, Vancouver 2007, Sevilla 2007, Goeteborg 2008, MedFilm Festival 2008
Awards Best Actress (Sandra Huelller) Mar del Plata 2007
With backing from German Federal Film Board, Medienboard Berlin-Brandenburg, Film- und Medienstiftung NRW, BKM, Hessen-Invest, Eurimages, Centre du Cinema et de L'audiovisuel de la Wallonie, Hessische Ministerium fuer Wissenschaft und Kunst, Hessische Filmfoerderung, MEDIA

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