Von wegen ‚Schicksal‘

Is This Fate?
Irene Rakowitz, 48, is a divorced mother of four, who lives with her two youngest children in Berlin’s Märkisches Viertel district, surviving on disability payments. Her ex-husband, a former miner, lives in the same high-rise. Inspired by student activities in her neighbourhood, Irene has freed herself from her husband. But loud and abrasive conflict persists regarding his ongoing influence on the children. The older daughters are hateful and judgemental of their mother, calling her a “troublemaker”. In the film, Irene Rakowitz holds nothing back as she talks about why her family is falling apart, while at the same time discussing her own ambitions … Helga Reidemeister was a social worker in the Märkisches Viertel district. Her documentary of a family hell, in which conflicts escalate instead of abating, had a strong point of view and was not uncontroversial in 1982. Watching her unvarnished chronicle of everyday violence now, it exerts the fascination of a sort of cinematic family therapy. The filmmaker found the perfect subjects to accomplish that – “you have to keep your tongue constantly moving!”
by Helga Reidemeister
with Irene Rakowitz und Familie
Federal Republic of Germany 1979 German 121’ Black/White Documentary form Rating R0


  • Irene Rakowitz und Familie


Director Helga Reidemeister
Screenplay Irene Rakowitz, Helga Reidemeister
Cinematography Axel Brandt, Susanne Beyeler, Thomas Tanner
Editing Elisabeth Förster
Sound Katharina Geinitz
Assistant Director Katharina Geinitz
Collaboration Regine Heuser, Helga Schnurre, Helma Sanders-Brahms
Commissioning Editor Eckart Stein, Ursula Stein

Additional information

DCP: Deutsche Kinemathek, Berlin

Helga Reidemeister


Bio- & filmography as of Berlinale 2019