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A Tribute to Das Kleine Fernsehspiel/ZDF: Alternative Filmmaking in Television

A Tribute to Das Kleine Fernsehspiel/ZDF: Alternative Filmmaking in Television

Friday, November 30, 1979
9:30 p.m. The All-Around Reduced Personality--Outtakes
Helke Sander (1978)

Helke Sander is best known as a leading figure in the Women’s Lib movement in Berlin, editing through Rotbuch Verlag the only European feminist film quarterly: Frauen und Film. This “is her debut pic, although she is a grad of the Berlin Film & TV Academy and has done a number of shorts on femme and political themes.
“It’s a film rich in nuance and perceptive judgment on the Berlin scene as a whole.... The title itself is a teaser: anyone who listens to radio broadcasts from East Berlin will catch the sardonic fun poked at the oft-heard, politically numbing phrase: ‘the all-around realized Socialist personality.’ Sander goes meaningfully in the opposite direction: she looks upon herself as ‘an all-around reduced personality’ - a candid way of saying ‘I’m not much good at anything.’
“Edda - Sander’s alter ego in the film - is a photographer who must hustle the entire day taking pictures commissioned by official agencies and for sale to newspapers and magazines. She can barely make ends meet, has a school-age daughter who hangs on for more attention, and realizes that she’s only half-good at everything although totally committed to several causes. A chance comes when a women’s group receives a commission from the Berlin Senate to photograph and present the city through their eyes and, by extension, through the eyes of the Women’s Lib movement.
“What she comes up with, as both a photographer and a filmmaker, is a depressing, tragic, realistic, but intimate portrait of a city cut in two and surrounded by a wall ‘with holes in it...’ she reaches into a bag filled with quotes from former and current East German writers (Thomas Braasch, Christa Wolf) or uses film clips from pix by femme helmers (Yvonne Rainer’s Film About a Woman Who..., Valie Export’s Invisible Opponent, Ursula Reuter-Christiansen’s The Executioner) to put a point across.
“...the film’s easy-going style... makes it a stand-out....”

—Ron Holloway, Variety

• A Helke Sander Film, Berlin. Written and Directed by Helke Sander. Produced by Basis Film Verleih, Berlin, in cooperation with ZDF. ZDF Production Executive, Maya Faber-Jansen. Photographed by Katia Forbert. Edited by Ursula Hoef. With Helke Sander, Joachim Baumann, Frank Burckner, Eva Gagel. (1978, 98 mins, 35mm, English titles, Print Courtesy of Basis Film)