Daily | Helma Sanders-Brahms, 1940 – 2014

Helma Sanders-Brahms

Helma Sanders-Brahms

Helma Sanders-Brahms, a key figure of the New German Cinema, passed away yesterday at the age of 73 following a long illness. “Over the course of a 40 year career, Sanders-Brahms wrote and directed 16 fiction films and seven documentaries,” notes Martin Blaney in a report for Screen Daily. Ulrich Gregor, former head of the Berlin International Film Festival’s Forum section, tells Blaney: “Germany, Pale Mother [198o] is a milestone in German film history. Her death opens a painful rift in the film landscape.’ It was only this February that Germany, Pale Mother—voted in the US as one of the ‘Classics of Cinema’—was presented in a reconstructed and digitally restored original version as part of the Berlinale Classics sidebar.”

Sanders-Brahms “began her career as a model and TV presenter,” writes Deadline‘s Nancy Tartaglione. “In 1969, she met Italian giant Pier Paolo Pasolini on a movie set where he told her, ‘You are going to make films!’ She stuck around the set and later said it helped her discover her love of the craft.”

A clip from Germany, Pale Mother

The Berlinale has issued a press release noting that the festival has screened eight of her films over the years and that, for a time, she served on the advisory selection committee. “Sanders-Brahms consistently explored political and social issues in her films. Characteristic for her works is how she artistically approached topics like feminism and women’s lib, immigrant workers and German history. Unter dem Pflaster liegt der Strand (Under the Beach’s Cobbles, 1975) is considered as one of the key films about societal upheaval and the emancipation movement in the years following 1968. ‘Helma Sanders-Brahms was a radical and committed filmmaker who had a lasting impact on German cinema. Helma was a tremendous director,’ declares Berlinale Director Dieter Kosslick.”

Remembrances in the German papers: Hanns-Georg Rodek (Die Welt) and Daniela Sannwald (Der Tagesspiegel).

A clip from Sanders-Brahms’s first feature, Under the Beach’s Cobbles

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