On May 27, 2014, German director, screenwriter and producer Helma Sanders-Brahms died after a long illness. She was one of the most important representatives of German post-war film. Her cinematic oeuvre includes 16 fictional films and seven documentaries.
Eight of her films were screened in the programme of the Berlin International Film Festival. In 1980 the fictional film Deutschland, bleiche Mutter (Germany, Pale Mother) celebrated its world premiere in the Competition of the Berlinale. Today it ranks among the classics of world cinema. In February 2014, the reconstructed and digitally restored original version of the film was showcased once again in the Berlinale Classics series.
In 1997, Helma Sanders-Brahms presented Mein Herz – niemandem (My Heart Is Mine Alone) hors concours in the Competition section. Between 1982 and 2014 she also showed films at the Berlinale in the Forum and Retrospective sections, as well as in the series New German Films and German Cinema series.
Under former Festival Director Moritz de Hadeln, Helma Sanders-Brahms was also a member of the advisory selection committee of the Berlin International Film Festival.
Helma 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.