Mothering Daughters: Subjectivity ans History in the Work of Helma Sanders Brahms's Germany Pale Mother

Judith Keene


Helma Sanders-Brahms’, Germany Pale Mother(Deutschland, bleiche Mutter) was released in 1979 to a less than enthusiastic response. The film was criticised for its choice of subject matter and for its presentation of German women as victimised and masochistic. It was claimed as well that SandersBrahms had failed to «historicize the events in the lives of the main characters» and that while the film drew on familiar symbols and chronological references, these were no more than a director’s sleight of hand behind which Sanders- Brahms had decontextualized the experiences of her characters placing them outside history. Most commentators, in fact, have shared Eric Santner’s assessment that the film passed up the opportunity to undertake a «sustained emotional confrontation with the Nazi past.»

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