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Rosenstrasse

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Overview

German filmmaker Margarethe von Trotta directs the war drama Rosenstrasse, based on the plight of "mixed marriages" between Jewish men and non-Jewish women during the Holocaust. In contemporary New York, Jewish matriarch Ruth (Jutta Lampe) practices Orthodox mourning traditions for her late husband, to the dismay of her daughter Hannah (Maria Schrader). At the wake, Ruth's cousin Rachel (Carola Regnier) tells Hannah some family secrets that send curious Hannah over to Berlin. She searches out 90-year-old Lena ...
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Overview

German filmmaker Margarethe von Trotta directs the war drama Rosenstrasse, based on the plight of "mixed marriages" between Jewish men and non-Jewish women during the Holocaust. In contemporary New York, Jewish matriarch Ruth (Jutta Lampe) practices Orthodox mourning traditions for her late husband, to the dismay of her daughter Hannah (Maria Schrader). At the wake, Ruth's cousin Rachel (Carola Regnier) tells Hannah some family secrets that send curious Hannah over to Berlin. She searches out 90-year-old Lena Fischer (Doris Schade), who cared for Ruth during WWII. Flashbacks recall the events of 1943,when Jewish husbands were rounded up and kept in a house on a street called Rosenstrasse. Lena (played by Katja Riemann as a young woman) joins a group of other wives for a week-long protest, where she meets an abandoned seven-year-old named Ruth (played by Svea Lohde as a girl). Rosenstrasse was shown in competition at the 2003 Venice International Film Festival.
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Special Features

None specified
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Editorial Reviews

All Movie Guide - Bruce Eder
Margarethe von Trotta's Rosenstrasse (2003) is a strange yet compelling mix of modern Holocaust drama and old-style melodrama that manages to recall, at different moments, such varied movies as Steven Spielberg's Schindler's List (1993), such old-style "women's pictures" as Mitchell Leisen's To Each His Own and Irving Pichel's Tomorrow Is Forever (both 1946), and, seemingly courting disaster, Peter Godfrey's wartime potboiler Hotel Berlin (1945). Almost all of it plays well, however, and in von Trotta's deft hands, it all holds together despite some rough spots at the joins between the genres. The honesty and verisimilitude in the opening sequences in New York ring true and clear; this is essential to the movie, as they're the events that cause Hannah (Maria Schrader) to search out her mother's past in Germany. The scenes in modern Germany have a cool, unseductive honesty that's a stark contrast to the uneasiness of tone (like home movies of a family in agony) in the New York sequences. It's when the movie plunges into its characters' pasts, in extended flashbacks that intercut with contemporary sequences, that it begins firing on all cylinders and engaging in a very careful juggling act. For starters, the depiction of life in wartime Berlin is, perhaps, a bit more evenhanded than Americans are accustomed to, as von Trotta is able to distinguish between such matters as ordinary and extraordinary soldiers (including Lena's brother, Arthur von Eschenbach [Jürgen Vogel], an honored hero from the Eastern front who has lost a leg) and the more virulent, ideologically driven SS men and other dedicated Nazis; she also makes a distinction between those Germans who said and did nothing about the persecution of the Jews and those who resisted, both quietly and openly. Those scenes have a quiet, understated intensity that makes them as compelling as anything else in this movie. When the film focuses on the story of Lena (Katja Riemann, who won the Best Actress award at the Venice Film Festival for her work here) and her husband, Jewish violinist Fabian Fischer (Martin Feifel), the emotions are ratcheted up to a red heat, and when von Trotta brings in the tale of the misplaced Jewish child, Ruth (Svea Lohde), everything catches fire. It's when the story falls back on Hannah and her decision about how (or whether) to tell the 90-year-old Lena (Doris Schade) the truth that it gets dangerously close to an old-style Hollywood women's picture -- recalling such World War II two-handkerchief melodramas as To Each His Own, in which Olivia de Havilland meets the son she gave away for adoption in 1919 when he is a young pilot in 1943 London, and Tomorrow Is Forever, in which an Austrian immigrant who is actually a World War I amnesiac American casualty (Orson Welles) arrives in America in 1939 and meets the wife and son that he lost in 1918. Further, in describing the efforts made to save the men confined by the government -- Jews who were married to Gentile women and specifically exempted from "deportation" (i.e. transportation to concentration camps) -- the script (co-authored by the director and Pamela Katz) veers close to the kind of overheated melodrama of Hotel Berlin, just a little too obvious at times, but not enough to overturn what we've seen before or what comes after. The performances are perfect all around, sufficient to keep us engaged and convinced of the truth and rightness of 99 percent of what we see. Von Trotta pulls all of these divergent parts together in a coherent and compelling fashion, and does so with such skill -- and, ultimately, so engrossingly -- that the 136-minute movie feels like it runs a lot shorter, and is richly rewarding despite a few minor bad turns in the script and plot.
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Product Details

  • Release Date: 1/18/2005
  • UPC: 043396044258
  • Original Release: 2003
  • Rating:

  • Source: Sony Pictures
  • Region Code: 1
  • Time: 2:16:00
  • Format: DVD

Cast & Crew

Performance Credits
Katja Riemann Lena Fischer
Maria Schrader Hannah
Martin Feifel Fabian Fischer
Jürgen Vogel Arthur von Eschenbach
Jutta Lampe Ruth Weinstein
Doris Schade Lena Fischer, Age 90
Fedja van Huêt Luis Marquez
Carola Regnier Rachel Rosenbauer
Svea Lohde Ruth, Age 7
Jutta Wachowiak Mrs. Goldberg
Jan Decleir Nathan Goldberg
Thekla Reuten Klara Fischer
Lilian Schiffer Erika
Lena Stolze Miriam Sussman
Isolde Barth Fabian's Mother
Fritz Lichtenhahn Fabian's Father
Nina Kunzendorf Lizzy
Martin Wuttke Goebbels
Technical Credits
Margarethe von Trotta Director, Screenwriter
Peter Altmann Asst. Director
Heike Bauersfeld Production Designer
Jan Betke Cinematographer
Corina Dietz Editor
Lock Dikker Score Composer
Loek Dikker Score Composer
Ursula Eggert Costumes/Costume Designer
Pamela Katz Screenwriter
Henrik Meyer Producer
Errol Nayci Co-producer
Kerstin Ramcke Producer
Franz Rath Cinematographer
Eric Rueff Sound/Sound Designer
Richard Schops Producer
Sabine Schroth Casting
Volkert Struycken Co-producer
Markus Zimmer Producer
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Scene Index

Side #1 --
1. Start [7:52]
2. Luis [6:32]
3. Cousin Rachel [3:41]
4. Mother [3:28]
5. Needing to Know [3:59]
6. Aryan Wife [2:38]
7. Fabian Israel Fischer [7:04]
8. Berlin [4:43]
9. Listening to Lena [3:32]
10. Outside the Rosenstrasse [7:37]
11. Recital [7:09]
12. Plea to Father [6:10]
13. Helga Lehmann [1:42]
14. Secrets & Lies [4:48]
15. Memorial [2:01]
16. New Arrival [4:05]
17. The Face in the Window [3:10]
18. A Dangerous Favor [1:26]
19. Berlin Is Bombed [2:44]
20. Unexpected Kindness [5:12]
21. Riot [1:31]
22. Attempted Access [2:55]
23. Aid From a Nazi [2:38]
24. Cruelty in High Places [2:43]
25. "Murder" [2:14]
26. Lena's Sacrifice [5:52]
27. The Seventh Day [9:25]
28. Reconcilation [12:07]
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Menu

Side #1 --
   Play Movie
   Languages
      Subtitles
         English
         Subtitles Off
   Scene Selections
   Previews
      Rosenstrasse
      Bobby Jones Stroke of Genius
      Bon Voyage
      Super Size Me
      The Company
      Breakin' All the Rules
      Whale Rider
      The Winslow Boy
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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 5
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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 1, 2010

    A great story--and a true one

    I first heard of this story when my sister was in the play, and was very excited to see the movie at an international film festival. I thought it would never make it to regular American DVD's! I liked the movie better than the play because it relates the holocaust story to modern-day descendants. However, I thought there were a few loose ends in the movie that I would have liked explained. But it'll make a great gift for my sister (and one for me, of course).

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
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