‘Rosenstrasse’ makes gala debut at Toronto Film Festival

by W. Andrew Powell
TIFF 2003
TIFF 2003

Director Margarethe von Trotta‘s Rosenstrasse receives its North American premiere as a Gala Presentation at the 28th Toronto International Film Festival.

Starring Katja Riemann, Maria Schrader, Jutta Lampe, Svea Lohde, and Doris Schade, Rosenstrasse tells the moving story of three women whose identities are linked by a unique event in history. After the death of her father, Hannah (Schrader) becomes concerned with the strange and unpredictable behaviour of her mother, Ruth (Lampe).

The normally secular and liberal Ruth not only insists on observing orthodox Jewish mourning rituals, she also suddenly forbids Hannah to marry her non-Jewish boyfriend, a long time friend of the family. When the details of her mother’s troubled childhood are revealed at her father’s funeral, Hannah comes to realize how little she knows about her mother’s past. Ruth, whose Jewish parents were deported during World War II, was raised by a Gentile woman, Lena (Katja Riemann).

Hannah travels to Berlin to hear this woman’s story: the little known resistance of the women of Rosenstrasse. In 1943, for two weeks in the dead of winter, hundreds of Gentile women held an impromptu but fierce demonstration against the Third Reich. On a street called the Rosenstrasse, directly in front of the building where their Jewish husbands were being held prisoner, they courageously gathered and shouted for their freedom. Lena was one of these women, and it was here that she met Ruth.

Exemplifying courage, solidarity and reconciliation, Rosenstrasse is a compelling story that bridges decades of family history and the stories of love, and loss within them. Written and directed by Margarethe von Trotta, Rosenstrasse stars Katja Riemann, Maria Schrader, Jutta Lampe, Svea Lohde, and Doris Schade. The screenplay is also written by Pamela Katz. Produced by Richard Schöps, Markus Zimmer and Henrik Meyer, Rosenstrasse is a Studio Hamburg Letterbox/Tele-Muenchen/Get Reel production, and a presentation of StudioCanal.

The 28th Toronto International Film Festival runs September 4-13, 2003 – find out more on the festival over at www.bell.ca/filmfest.

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