Germany, Pale Mother

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Germany, Pale Mother
VHS cover
Directed by Helma Sanders-Brahms
Produced by Walter Höllerer
Helma Sanders-Brahms
Written by Helma Sanders-Brahms
Starring Eva Mattes
Ernst Jacobi
Music by Jürgen Knieper
Cinematography Jürgen Jürges
Edited by Uta Periginelli
Elfie Tillack
Distributed by New Yorker Films (USA)
Release dates
20 February 1980 (Berlin Film Festival)
Running time
123 minutes
Country West Germany
Language German

Germany, Pale Mother (German: Deutschland bleiche Mutter) is a 1980 West German drama film written and directed by Helma Sanders-Brahms. It was shown at the 30th Berlin International Film Festival in 1980, where it was nominated for a Golden Bear award. It was not released in the United States until 1984.


The film is narrated by Anna, a German woman who tells the story of her parents before, during and after World War II. Her mother, Lene, meets her father, Hans, and they fall in love and marry. As the war breaks out, Hans is conscripted into the army and Lene suffers through air raids in Berlin. Her relationship with Hans becomes increasingly strained during his infrequent returns home on leave. She gives birth to Anna, and undergoes great hardship to keep her safe, crossing a forest in winter to escape to her family in the country, and later living a life of poverty in the ruins of postwar Berlin. As life returns to normal after the war, she and Hans are unable to rekindle their love, and Lene spirals into depression, exacerbated by the affliction of a crippling facial paralysis. The film ends with the suicidal Lene facing a hopeless future.



In 1980, the film won the Grand Prix at the Créteil International Women's Film Festival and was nominated for the Golden Berlin Bear at the 30th Berlin International Film Festival.[1]


  1. "Awards for Deutschland bleiche Mutter". Internet Movie Database. Retrieved 2007-12-25.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>

Further reading

  • Anton Kaes. From Hitler to Heimat: The Return of History as Film. Cambridge, Massachusetts: Harvard University Press, 1989.

External links