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Rosenstrasse (2003)

PG-13 | | Drama, War | 18 September 2003 (Germany)
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After the death of her father, Hannah becomes concerned with the strange behavior of her mother. As her mother's troubled childhood is revealed, Hannah realizes how little she ever knew.
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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Katja Riemann ... Lena Fischer - age 33
Maria Schrader ... Hannah Weinstein
Doris Schade Doris Schade ... Lena Fischer - age 90
Jutta Lampe Jutta Lampe ... Ruth Weinstein - age 60
Svea Lohde Svea Lohde ... Ruth Weinstein - age 8
Jürgen Vogel ... Arthur von Eschenbach
Martin Feifel ... Fabian Fischer
Fedja van Huêt ... Luis Marquez
Carola Regnier Carola Regnier ... Rachel Rosenbauer
Plien van Bennekom Plien van Bennekom ... Marian
Romijn Conen ... Ben
Julia Eggert Julia Eggert ... Emily
Thekla Reuten ... Klara Singer
Jutta Wachowiak ... Frau Goldberg
Jan Decleir ... Nathan Goldberg
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Storyline

When Ruth's husband dies in New York, in 2000, she imposes strict Jewish mourning, which puzzles her children. A stranger comes to the house - Ruth's cousin - with a picture of Ruth, age 8, in Berlin, with a woman the cousin says helped Ruth escape. Hannah, Ruth's daughter engaged to a gentile, goes to Berlin to find the woman, Lena Fisher, now 90. Posing as a journalist investigating intermarriage, Hannah interviews Lena who tells the story of a week in 1943 when the Jewish husbands of Aryan women were detained in a building on Rosenstrasse. The women gather daily for word of their husbands. The film goes back and forth to tell Ruth and Lena's story. How will it affect Hannah? Written by <jhailey@hotmail.com>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Genres:

Drama | War

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated PG-13 for mature thematic material, some violence and brief drug content | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Details

Country:

Germany | Netherlands

Language:

German | English

Release Date:

18 September 2003 (Germany) See more »

Also Known As:

Kvinnorna på Rosenstrasse See more »

Filming Locations:

Berlin, Germany See more »

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Box Office

Gross USA:

$734,519

Cumulative Worldwide Gross:

$6,075,609
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Dolby Digital

Color:

Color

Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

The lines quoted in English by Ruth's mother are from the poem "And Death Shall Have No Dominion" by Dylan Thomas, published in Twenty-five Poems (1936), though an earlier version was circulating in 1933. See more »

Connections

References Ein Walzer mit dir (1943) See more »

Soundtracks

Und wieder geht ein schöner Tag zu Ende
Composed by Gerhard Winkler
Lyrics by Bruno Elsner
© 1937 by WIENER BOHÈME VERLAG GMBH
(BMG MUSIC PUBLISHING GERMANY), München
From the CD "Ich träum' von einer Stunde"
Courtesy of UBM MEDIA GMBH
See more »

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User Reviews

Sympathy for the Monumentally Naive
8 September 2004 | by noraleeSee all my reviews

"Rosenstrasse" is a defense of naive Righteous Gentiles, the women who married secular Jews in Germany as the Nazis rose to power.

Like "The Pianist," it goes out of its way to distinguish between Nazis and natives who thought this too shall pass and noble Prussian culture would again assert itself (I couldn't pick up all the cultural references, particularly in the German music selections, though soldiers are seen dancing to Cole Porter songs.).

While the promotion for the film claims that feminist director Margarethe von Trotta is the first to deal with this particular slice of German protest to the Nazi eradication of Jews, a series of German films not otherwise distributed in the U.S. were shown on PBS some years ago and demonstrated that other post-war filmmakers were looking at complicity and professed ignorance among their country people, and that their discovery of their parents' hypocrisy led to the radical politics of 1968.

Von Trotta carefully avoids this context by oddly having her seeker of truth be a young American woman who grew up speaking German fluently in the German Jewish emigre enclave of Washington Heights in Manhattan (from whence came Henry Kissinger) and has a South American boyfriend.

Somewhat clumsily for the narrative and for the family, her father's death leads her to investigate her mother's past in Germany to try and figure out why her cold, secular mother is suddenly following shiva (Jewish mourning rituals) for him. (These rituals are disconcertingly portrayed inaccurately -- What rule of silence? Everyone would be talking about memories of the deceased, and eating and eating-- unless the point is to show they don't know how to follow Jewish tradition anymore and talk of any past is verboten in this family).

The film unravels, not particularly satisfactorily, many layers of irony and guilt as personal and political realities are intertwined --

between Germans (especially soldiers who had witnessed what the S.S. was doing in the East, showing it was not a secret at home); between gentiles and Jews (particularly about intermarriage then and now); between survivors and the dead; between men and women (there's an assertion that gentile men deserted their Jewish wives to their fates while gentile women did not desert their spouses); between mothers and children, whether biologically linked or not; between siblings, and,between chance and choice.

Katja Riemann's strong performance as the stubborn wife who accidentally becomes an activist by default almost puts aside the fact that her character was monumentally oblivious to what was happening around her until it was almost too late by a thread.

The conclusion seems to come out in favor of compromise as it explores love and tradition, which is inevitably not happy for everyone but may be a flexible response to a complicated past and present.


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