Margarethe VON TROTTA
Like the early trilogy of ‘sisterhood’, or female bonding - The Second Awakening of Christa Klages, Sisters, or the Balance of Happiness and The German Sisters, this film is about two women. Olga, a feminist literature scholar, tries to make feminist genealogy of words and expressions by discovering female writers of romanticism from 18th and 19th centuries, buried in oblivion by the rigid patriarchy. Ruth, an introvert painter, makes copies of other painters. Olga finds Ruth’s talent from her works, and Ruth gets great inspiration from Olga’s words. Two women’s relationship grows into deep friendship, but Franz, Ruth’s husband, gets jealous.
Sheer Madness is about two women who face each other as if standing in front of the mirror. Visualizing and foregrounding gazes of two women watching and desiring each other, von Trotta explores the origin of female desire for another female. She also speculates that female bonding and mutual growth will confront the fundamental obstacles of patriarchy and male jealousy of female, which is scarcely enunciated. Guenderrode, a female writer Olga studies, cannot not explore her talent fully in the male-centered literary world. She commits suicide, and Ruth is also suicidal before she meets Olga. However, at the end of the film, Ruth makes her choice that is just the opposite of suicide. This court scene, where Ruth and Olga exchange their gazes, reminds us of the bonding between two women and their tacit understanding in The Second Awakening of Christa Klages. (Kwon Eun-sun)
Margarethe VON TROTTAMargarethe VON TROTTA
Margarethe VON TROTTA is a renowned German director who started as a movie and theater actress, making her movie debut in Klaus LEMKE’s Firestarters. Her much-respected first directorial work was The Second Awakening of Christa Klages. She made several author films such as Sisters to the Balance of Happiness and Marianne & Juliane, which won the Golden Lion in Venice in 1981. In 2012 she received the honorary award of the Bavarian Minister President. VON TROTTA is currently working on a documentary about Ingmar Bergmann.