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Promise, The (Versprechen, Das)

A love-affair under extreme conditions. In the autumn of 1961, a few weeks after the building of the Berlin Wall, a school group tries to escape from East Berlin to the West. Quite by chance, Sophie and Konrad are separated; Sophie reaches the West, and Konrad is left behind in the Eastern half of the city. During the next 28 years, the two lovers live together, but alone, and under radically different living conditions. They only get to see each other again on four occasions. The film tells of Sophie and Konrad’s alienation, but also of how they defend their love against the force of circumstances. When the Wall is finally opened, the couple’s story could now really begin. Will their love be able to assert itself against the years of separation?


Margarethe von Trotta ranks among the most important female directors in German cinema since the 1970s, during which time she also made a name for herself as an actress. Today primarily active as a screenwriter and director, her most well-known films include: THE LOST HONOR OF KATHARINA BLUM (DIE VERLORENE EHRE DER KATHARINA BLUM, 1975, in co-direction with Volker Schlöndorff), THE SECOND AWAKENING OF CHRISTA KLAGES (DAS ZWEITE ERWACHEN DER CHRISTA KLAGES, 1977), SISTERS OR THE BALANCE OF HAPPINESS (SCHWESTERN ODER DIE BALANCE DES GLÜCKS, 1979), MARIANNE AND JULIANE (DIE BLEIERNE ZEIT, 1981), SHEER MADNESS (HELLER WAHN, 1983), ROSA LUXEMBURG (1985), THE AFRICAN WOMAN (DIE RÜCKKEHR, 1990), THE LONG SILENCE (IL LUNGO SILENZIO, 1993), THE PROMISE (DAS VERSPRECHEN, 1994), ROSENSTRASSE (2003), I AM THE OTHER WOMAN (ICH BIN DIE ANDERE, 2006), VISION (2009), HANNAH ARENDT (2012), FORGET ABOUT NICK (2017), and her first documentary SEARCHING FOR INGMAR BERGMAN (2018), among others.
Genre Drama
Category Feature
Year of Production 1994
Director Margarethe von Trotta
Screenplay Margarethe von Trotta, Felice Laudadio, Peter Schneider
Cinematography Franz Rath
Cast August Zirner, Meret Becker, Corinna Harfouch, Anian Zollner
Producer Eberhard Junkersdorf
Production Companies Bioskop Film/Munich, Odessa Film/Paris, J.M.H. Productions/Lausanne, in cooperation with WDR
Length 120 min
Festivals Viareggio 2008
German Distributor STUDIOCANAL/Berlin

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