Berlinale: Programme

Film File


Von wegen ‚Schicksal‘

Is This Fate?

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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!”

Helga Reidemeister

Federal Republic of Germany 1979


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

Digitally restored version 2014

Rating R0


Irene Rakowitz und Familie


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

DCP: Deutsche Kinemathek, Berlin