Programmed by Jürgen Ellinghaus
Irene Rakowitz, aged 48, is a divorced mother of four, who lives with her two youngest children in West Berlin’s Märkisches Viertel public housing district, surviving on disability payments. Her ex-husband, a former miner, lives in the same high-rise. But loud and abrasive conflict persists regarding his ongoing influence on the children. The older daughters are hateful and judgmental of their mother, calling her a ‘crackpot’. Irene Rakowitz holds nothing back as she talks about why her family is falling apart, while at the same time expressing, sometimes vehemently, her own ambitions, in front of the camera and again during the editing process, throughout which she is associated.
In Germany, the asserted interference and the position adopted by the film director, who advocates the production of films with and not about people, divides and arouses heated debate. In France, on the subject of Marguerite Duras wrote about ‘Is This Fate’, ‘Everything that happens to a woman is commonplace (…) desire to love, tragic incapacity to express such love, all of it thrown into the night, into virtual silence. It all happens in the German depths, in this unwelcome proletariat of post-war Germany. What I mean is, that nothing happens in this film apart from cinema, the fabulous explosion of silence thanks to the camera, the translation, by that woman, Irene, of that silence into a language that is never concerted, that is unveiled through the camera, is if under the effect of a drug - here we say under the effect of the shooting and the sound recording.’