Berlinale: Programme

Film file


Bis dass der Tod euch scheidet

Until Death Do Us Part

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Jens, a construction worker in his mid-twenties and Sonja, a shop assistant, are in love. They marry and move into an apartment together. When Sonja has a child she gives up her job. After a while she begins to feel bored and isolated at home. She would like to work again, but Jens is very much against this because it wouldn’t conform to his perception of the kind of harmonious family life he was denied as a child. Sonja feels patronised and this puts a strain on their relationship. She secretly takes an exam to become a skilled worker. When Jens discovers this he is furious and lashes out physically. Colleagues try in vain to help but the situation deteriorates. Jens begins drinking; he completely loses control when he finds out that Sonja has had an abortion. Their love has now turned into outright hatred. One day Jens mistakenly drinks from a water bottle containing an aggressive detergent. Sonja does not stop him. His life hangs in the balance – and they recollect their love for one another. Traditional role models clash with modern concepts of marriage under socialism. The situation escalates.

Heiner Carow

German Democratic Republic 1978


96 min · Colour


Katrin Sass (Sonja)
Martin Seifert (Jens)
Angelica Domröse (Jens Sister)
Irmgard Kuhlmey (Tilli)


Written and directed by
Heiner Carow
Director of Photography
Jürgen Brauer
Günther Rücker


Heiner Carow

Born in Rostock in 1929, he died in Berlin in 1997. At 21 he joined the directing class at the DEFA training school in East Berlin. Following numerous short documentaries, he transferred to the DEFA feature film studio. He directed successful children's and youth films and, from the 1970s, feature films for adults. Die Legende von Paul und Paula (1972/73) became his greatest success. He won the Silver Bear at the 1990 Berlinale for Coming Out. Since 2013 the DEFA-Foundation has presented the Heiner Carow Prize for feature-length films in the Berlinale Panorama.


1953 Ein Schritt weiter; short documentary 1954 Dorf im Herbst; short documentary · Der Strukturbohrer [Jg.1954 / Folge 06]; short documentary, co-directed with Alfred Siegert, Lothar Devaal · Die Wette gilt; short documentary · Forschen und Schaffen. Folge VI; short documentary, co-directed with Alfred Siegert, Lothar Devaal 1956 Martins Tagebuch; short documentary 1957 Sheriff Teddy 1959 Sie nannten ihn Amigo 1960 Das Leben beginnt 1961 Mongolia; documentary 1964 Die Hochzeit von Länneken 1966 Die Reise nach Sundevit 1968 Die Russen kommen; Forbidden film, premiere in 1987 1971 Karriere 1973 Die Legende von Paul und Paula 1975 Ikarus 1978 Bis daß der Tod euch scheidet 1989 Coming out · Zweiradshow; short documentary, co-directed with Jürgen Voigt 1992 Verfehlung

Produced by

DEFA-Studio für Spielfilme
German Democratic Republic