Berlinale: Programme

Film File


Unter dem Pflaster ist der Strand

Under the Pavement Lies the Strand

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Grischa and Heinrich are actors in West Berlin, who become a couple after spending a night together backstage. Soon, however, Heinrich’s desire to have children drives a wedge between them. Grischa is involved at the margins of the women’s movement and initiates a project surveying working women about their everyday life, abortion, and domestic violence. Heinrich, on the other hand, still mourns the unrealised utopia of the student movement and sinks into self-pity and lethargy. Grischa doesn’t believe he could handle the responsibility of a child. But then she becomes pregnant … In the film, made seven years after the upheaval of 1968, Helma Sanders-Brahms parses the attitudes of a generation. While a feeling of political impotence drove frustrated street protestors to withdraw or, as in Heinrich’s case, to embrace a sense of hope for a “revolution a deux” in love, it motivated women to tackle Marx’s “second contradiction” of women’s repression. The clash between the political and the personal is also reflected in the film’s aesthetic. Intimate scenes of cosy togetherness are juxtaposed with documentary footage, for instance of a demonstration against Germany’s anti-abortion law.

Helma Sanders-Brahms

Federal Republic of Germany 1975


103’ · Black/White · 2K DCP

Rating R16


Grischa Huber
Heinrich Giskes
Ursula von Berg
Gesine Strempel
Traute Klier-Siebert
Barbara Finkenstaedt
Heinz Hoenig
Günter Lampe


Helma Sanders-Brahms
Heinrich Giskes, Grischa Huber, Helma Sanders-Brahms
Thomas Mauch
Elfi Tillack
Georg Lehner
Helma Sanders-Brahms
Commissioning Editor
Eckart Stein


Helma Sanders-Brahms

Born in Emden, Germany, in 1940. Following university, she worked as a TV announcer and trained in Italy with directors Sergio Corbucci and Pier Paolo Pasolini. After directing political, critical TV programs, she turned toward more subjective forms of expression with Unter dem Pflaster ist der Strand (1975). The central themes of her films include the women’s movement (Shirins Hochzeit, 1976), literary history (Heinrich, 1977), and Germany’s past (Manöver, 1988). Her films have been successful in many European countries.


1971 Die industrielle Reserve-Armee 1974 Erdbeben in Chili 1975 Unter dem Pflaster ist der Strand 1976 Shirins Hochzeit 1977 Heinrich 1980 Deutschland, bleiche Mutter 1981 Die Berührte 1984 Flügel und Fesseln 1986 Felix. Episode 1: Er am Ende · Laputa 1988 Manöver 1992 Apfelbäume 1994 Jetzt leben -– Juden in Berlin 1997 Mein Herz – Niemandem! 2003 Die Farbe der Seele 2008 Geliebte Clara

Bio- & filmography as of Berlinale 2019

DCP: Deutsche Kinemathek, Berlin