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My Mother, a War and Me

2014 DOK Leipzig, Special Screening
Germany | 2014 | 78 min. | Russian | English subtitles
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My Mother, a War and Me | Meine Mutter, ein Krieg und ich

Faded photos of young women in Red Army uniforms. One of them is Tamara Trampe’s mother, who gave birth on a snowy field in Voronezh in the winter of 1942 and managed against all odds to keep her baby alive on the frontline. The girl was never to meet her father, an officer, and grew up in the GDR with her mother’s German husband. By that time her mother had locked her war traumas away deep inside, from where they haunted the children like bogeys. It was not until shortly before she died that she was able to talk about the war, in front of her daughter’s camera.
The daughter starts to track down her mother’s old female comrades in arms in the Ukraine. They are hard to find, unwilling to speak. No one wanted to hear their stories in a society that is keeping alive the myth of the Great Patriotic War even today. Pictures of war museums and student nurses who imitate frontline habits provide a sparing commentary on those of the old women in their humble dwellings.
The film, however, never refers the problem to “those people” in the East. On the contrary, a power structure that is running through history even today emerges from behind the allusions and perhaps elisions. Like every good film, this one hurts. It’s the pain about the untold stories, in the families, in society. The saddest sentence is spoken by one of the old women: “I will soon have forgotten myself.”
Grit Lemke
Original Title: Meine Mutter, ein Krieg und ich
Country: Germany
Year: 2014
Language: Russian
Subtitle: English
Runtime: 78 min.
Format: DCP
Color: Colour and B&W
Director: Tamara Trampe, Johann Feindt
Producer: Johann Feindt, Doris Hepp
Cinematographer: Johann Feindt
Editor: Stephan Krumbiegel
Sound: Jule Katinka Cramer
Script: Tamara Trampe
Heino Deckert Filmproduktion

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The texts to the Documentary Competition films and the International Programme films were written by the members of the selection committee. All quotes from DOK Leipzig catalogue articles must be identified as such and cite the author’s name. All articles where no author’s name is given are production notes.