© NFP/Warner 

Das Blaue vom Himmel
Germany 2011

Opening 2 Jun 2011

Directed by: Hans Steinbichler
Writing credits: Josephine Jahnke, Robert Thayenthal
Principal actors: Hannelore Elsner, Juliane Köhler, Karoline Herfurth, Niklas Kohrt, David Kross

This suspenseful drama starts with Marga Baumanis slipping away from a care facility and taking a cab to her house in Wuppertal some 100 km away. Only, the house hasn’t been hers for a decade, and her husband she imagines there has been dead for many years. Marga suffers from Alzheimer’s. Sofia (Juliane Köhler) has been called to collect her mother, who subsequently had to be restrained in a psychiatric ward. Mother and daughter didn’t keep in contact much; still Sofia sees no other way but to take her mother back to Berlin with her. Soon she is exasperated by Marga’s unpredictable, often aggressive behavior. She seems trapped in the past, with happy memories of her wedding in Latvia and dark memories that seem to agitate her greatly and she fights to suppress. Sofia has always been told there were no photos from the past in the ‘old country’, but discovers – in her mother’s luggage – photographs of her father as a young man and those of another man that Marga hesitates to identify. Increasingly frustrated by her mysterious behavior, Sofia takes her mother to her hometown Riga, hoping to extract the secret that lies at the bottom of all this. It’s 1991 and the violent revolution they witness in Latvia strikes a chord with Marga’s memories of the 1940s when they left Latvia for Germany. For Marga and for Sofia it starts a journey back in time, and Sofia has to come to terms with the fact that her mother invented all she told her about the past.

Das Blaue vom Himmel (the blue in the sky) is part of a German expression that can be completed to mean either to promise somebody the impossible (like the blue in the sky) or to make up stories; both meanings apply. The expression, poetic and beautiful, inherently has something forgiving to it.

The strong female cast is led by Hannelore Elsner as Marga and Karoline Herfuth as young Marga, convincingly portraying the same, yet different, person, in skillfully blended past and present. Beautiful cinematography (Bella Halben), locations and sets. (Carola A)

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