Berlinale: Programme

Film File


Tue recht und scheue niemand – Das Leben der Gerda Siepenbrink

Do Right and Fear No One

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A portrait of a woman’s life between 1915 and 1975. In Jutta Brückner’s documentary, her mother looks back at the 60 years of her life, talking about her father’s early accidental death, the constraints faced by a lower middle-class family of five, her training as a seamstress, marriage to a bookkeeper committed to social democratic ideals, the privations of war, and not least of all, her later realisation that fear may have caused her to miss opportunities … An ingenious collage of picture and sound accompanies the mother’s narrative, a tapestry of proverbs, pop songs, marching music, and the noise of war. Hundreds of photographs – most selected from August Sander’s (1876–1964) project “People of the 20th Century”, alongside newer photos by Abisag Tüllmann, among others – lend the individual vita of the director’s mother a kind of ontological validity. Images of labourers and office workers, excursions and marches, imbue what we hear with references that transcend the personal. As Jutta Brückner put it, she wanted “to show the collective fears, desires, hopes, and despair of an entire class”.

Jutta Brückner

Federal Republic of Germany 1975


Documentary form
65’ · Black/White · 2K DCP

Digitally restored version 2016

Rating R0


Written and Directed by
Jutta Brückner
Francisco Alcalá-Toca
Jutta Brandstaedter
Jutta Brückner
Commissioning Editor
Eckart Stein, Annegret Even

DCP: Deutsche Kinemathek, Berlin