Die bleierne Zeit

The German Sisters
Marianne and Juliane are the daughters of a pastor. The younger, Marianne, has joined the “armed resistance” in West Germany and disappeared into the political underground. Juliane is an editor at a feminist magazine and is judgemental of her sister’s radicalism. When Marianne is arrested, Juliane starts visiting her in prison. They talk about their childhood, their father’s strict approach to their upbringing, the bombs of World War II, the horror of the Nazis, and their earlier acts of youthful rebellion. When Marianne is found dead in her cell, Juliane does not believe she committed suicide … Margarethe von Trotta sets her family tragedy, The German Sisters, seen from a decidedly female perspective, against the background of the Red Army Faction era, putting terrorism in the context of the repressive 1950s. The film is loosely based on the lives of Gudrun and Christiane Ensslin and the film is dedicated to the latter. With this film, the director became the first woman to be awarded the Golden Lion at the Venice Film Festival.
by Margarethe von Trotta
with Jutta Lampe, Barbara Sukowa, Rüdiger Vogler, Doris Schade, Verena Rudolph, Luc Bondy, Franz Rudnick, Julia Biedermann, Ina Robinski, Carola Hembus, Margit Czenki
Federal Republic of Germany 1981 German 107’ Colour Rating R16


  • Jutta Lampe
  • Barbara Sukowa
  • Rüdiger Vogler
  • Doris Schade
  • Verena Rudolph
  • Luc Bondy
  • Franz Rudnick
  • Julia Biedermann
  • Ina Robinski
  • Carola Hembus
  • Margit Czenki


Written and Directed by Margarethe von Trotta
Cinematography Franz Rath
Editing Dagmar Hirtz
Music Nicolas Economou
Sound Vladimir Vizner
Art Director Georg von Kieseritzky
Costumes Monika Hasse, Jorge Jara
Producer Eberhard Junkersdorf
Commissioning Editor Christa Vogel, Jürgen Sehmisch

Additional information

DCP: Studiocanal, Berlin

Margarethe von Trotta

Born in Berlin, Germany in 1942, she studied German and Romance languages in Munich and Paris and acting in Munich. She worked as a theatre and film actor for Fassbinder, Achternbusch and Schlöndorff, with whom she also collaborated as a screenwriter and co-director. She made her own directing debut in 1977 with Das zweite Erwachen der Christa Klages. Her films Die bleierne Zeit (1982), Heller Wahn (1983), L’africana (1991), Das Versprechen (1995), Rosenstraße (2004) and Die abhandene Welt (2015) all screened at the Berlinale.

Filmography (selection, as director)

1975 Die verlorene Ehre der Katharina Blum · Die verlorene Ehre der Katharina Blum 1978 Das zweite Erwachen der Christa Klages · Das zweite Erwachen der Christa Klages 1979 Schwestern oder Die Balance des Glücks · Schwestern oder Die Balance des Glücks 1981 Die bleierne Zeit · Die bleierne Zeit 1983 Heller Wahn · Heller Wahn 1985 Rosa Luxemburg · Rosa Luxemburg 1987 Felix · Felix 1988 Paura e amore (Fürchten und Lieben) · Paura e amore (Fürchten und Lieben) 1990 L'africana (Die Rückkehr) · L'africana (Die Rückkehr) 1993 Il lungo silenzio (Zeit des Zorns) · Il lungo silenzio (Zeit des Zorns) 1994 Das Versprechen · Das Versprechen 1997 Winterkind · Winterkind · Lulu · Lulu 1998 Dunkle Tage · Dunkle Tage · Mit fünzig küssen Männer anders · Mit fünzig küssen Männer anders 1999 Jahrestage · Jahrestage 2003 Rosenstraße · Rosenstraße · Die andere Frau · Die andere Frau 2005 Ich bin die Andere · Ich bin die Andere 2006 Tatort · Tatort 2007 Vision - Aus dem Leben der Hildegard von Bingen · Vision - Aus dem Leben der Hildegard von Bingen 2009 Die Schwester · Die Schwester 2010 Mai per amore · Mai per amore 2013 Hannah Ahrendt · Hannah Ahrendt 2014 Die abhandene Welt · Die abhandene Welt 2017 Forget About Nick 2018 Auf der Suche nach Ingmar Bergman

Bio- & filmography as of Berlinale 2020