Trümmermädchen – Germany Year Zero

The film “Trümmermädchen – Germany Year Zero” (German title: “Trümmermädchen – Die Geschichte der Charlotte Schumann“), for which director and screenwriter Oliver Kracht was already awarded the Thomas Strittmatter Prize at the Berlinale in 2019, celebrated its world premiere at the 55th Hof Film Festival in 2021, where, in addition to the Bild-Kunst-Förderpreis for the “Best Costume Design and Best Production Design”, it received a “Special Mention” from the jury of the Förderpreis Neues Deutsches Kino.

Synopsis

Germany, 1946. Hunger, rubble, returning soldiers. Charlotte is pregnant, but her beloved homecomer wants neither her nor his child. To win him over and escape the impending disgrace, she enrols in the “Fräulein Course” run by actress Gloria Deven, who was an aspiring film starlet under fascism and is now banned from working.

But Gloria, with her merciless teaching, is not interested in reviving the girls’ coquetry, which had become unnecessary during the war. Instead, she awakens in Lotte a longing for something that has been denied her for too long: Freedom.

Trümmermädchen – Germany Year Zero“ (Working title: “Die Geschichte des Trümmermädchens Charlotte Schumann“) tells the story of young women’s self-empowerment against the backdrop of the destruction of World War II in intense, striking images and is a fervent plea for community and sisterhood. The English translation or the German word “Trümmermädchen” is “Rubble Girl”.

Screenwriter and director Oliver Kracht

Oliver Kracht was born in La Paz in 1981. After graduating from high school, he studied philosophy at the University of Potsdam. In 2007 he moved to Madrid for studies in screenwriting and dramaturgy at the ECAM film school.

In 2019 he graduated in scenic directing at the Filmakademie Baden-Württemberg. For the screenplay of „Trümmermädchen – Germany Year Zero“ (German title: „Trümmermädchen – Die Geschichte der Charlotte Schumann“) he was awarded the Thomas Strittmacher Prize for “Best Screenplay” in 2019.

Filmography (Selection)

2021 Trümmermädchen – Germany Year Zero (Feature film, writer &director)
2017 Transit (Short film, writer & director)
2015 Eden (Short film, writer & director)
2013 Tiere (Short film, writer & director)
2012 Demontage (Short film, writer & director)

Director’s Statement by Oliver Kracht

“We, the team and cast, are grateful that we were able to produce this film largely without editorial influence. Only this way was it possible for every department to work freely regardless of the consequences. After all, we wanted to produce a theatrical film that radically and uncompromisingly questions whether we have really made so much progress in terms of patriarchy and/or fascist structures since 1946. I think we have succeeded in achieving this.

„Trümmermädchen – Germany Year Zero“ will provoke and polarise and above all, always entertain.”

The long reverberating, provocative story of emancipation set against the backdrop of a new beginning in the ruins of World War II features an impressive Laura Balzer (nominated for the Götz George Young Talent Award at the First Steps Awards) in the lead role, who, with the support of a terrific, predominantly female ensemble (including Valery Cheplanova, Lena Urzendowsky), takes us on the emotional journey of the character scarred by trauma and oppression.

Jury statement at the International Hof Film Festival for the Bild-Kunst-Förderpreis 2021:

“Sabrina Krämer and Hannah Ebenau were awarded for the well researched and well realised costumes of the 1940s: The overall concept of the film allows for detours into other times, which were very sensitively and artfully inserted into the cinematic period without imposing themselves in the process. The two costume designers succeeded in creating an artistic arch through colours, cuts and jewellery and in depicting a convincing development of the individual characters with these creative means.

Yvonne Leuze’s strong conception draws the black and white world of a destroyed and misogynous society, which appears fragmentarily in the infinity of an abstract-dark space. Sophisticated building constructions give rise to mountains of rubble and streetscapes that explore the tightrope walk between the real and scenic reduction. In contrast to this are the elaborate and lovingly decorated sets of the “Proto” theatre: a place of painful confrontation and liberating self-empowerment. The visuality of the film burns itself into the retina in ways that range from pleasurable to horrific.”

Original title: Trümmermädchen – Die Geschichte der Charlotte Schumann

Writer & director: Oliver Kracht

Cast: Laura Balzer, Valery Tscheplanowa, Anna Gesa-Raija Lappe, Katja Hutko, Lara Feith, Lena Urzendowsky, Till Wonka, Henning Flüsloh, Philipp Karner, Annette Mayer, Fanny Müller, Jakob Müller, Raphael Westermeier, Jannik Mühlenweg, Christian Koch, Antonio Lallo, Thorsten Müller, Georg Blumreiter, Alina Chis, Martin Weigel, Maximilian Klein, Castro Dokyi Affum

Producer: Simon J. Bucher

Executive producer: Marco Grönwoldt, Lennart Lenzing

Cinematography: Marvin Schatz

Editing: Petja Nedeltscheva

Sound: Max Kersten, Fabian Klein, Johannes Kunz, Jan Lukas Mielke, Johannes Schelle

Camera & technical departement: Niklas Kern, Julia Isabell Leber

Costume design: Hannah Ebenau, Sabrina Krämer

Production design: Yvonne Leuze

Make-up: Paolo Celano, Charlotte Fleck, Tim Scheidig

Music: Patrick Puszko

 

Production companies: Simonsays Pictures, Südwestrundfunk (SWR)

Year of production: 2021

Genre: Drama

Country: Germany

Language: German

Subtitles: English, French, Italian, Spanish, Portuguese, Russian, Arabic, Chinese

 

Lenght: 122 Min

Aspect ratio: 1:2.39

Sound: Surround 5.1, Surround 7.1

Resolution: 2K Scope

Rating: FSK 16

Other title:

German: Die Geschichte des Trümmermädchens Charlotte Schumann

Prizes:

2019 Berlinale: “Thomas Strittmatter Prize” from the MFG Film Fund Baden-Württemberg for the best manuscript -> Oliver Kracht

2021 International Hof Film Festival: “Bild-Kunst-Förderpreis for Best Costume Design” -> Hannah Ebenau & Sabrina Krämer

2021 International Hof Film Festival: “Bild-Kunst-Förderpreis for Best Production Design” -> Yvonne Leuze

Filmlabel: Artkeim²

Distribution: UCM.ONE

Theatrical start: March 24, 2022

Laura Balzer as Lotte Schumann

Laura Balzer was born in Braunschweig in 1993. She studied Fine Arts at the HBK Braunschweig from 2012 to 2015 and acting at the “Ernst BuschAcademy of Dramatic Arts in Berlin from 2015 to 2019. Already during her studies (2017) she played a part in the studio production “The Good Person of Szechwan” at the Berlin Schaubühne. Since 2019 she has been part of the Berliner Ensemble and has appeared in productions such as “The Threepenny Opera” by Barrie Kosky, as well as in “Glaube und Heimat” by Michael Thalheimer.

In 2019 she played in her first feature film “Trümmermädchen – Germany Year Zero” directed by Oliver Kracht. Here she embodies the title character, a performance for which she was nominated for the Götz-George-Young Talent Prize at the First Steps Awards in 2021. The jury’s statement on the nomination reads as follows:

“Trümmermädchen – Germany Year Zero’ offers a melodramatic, epochal insight into an emancipation story. In the middle of it all a stunning Laura Balzer, who draws on her enormous range of acting skills and increasingly strips the stuttering Charlotte of all role models. She takes us on a virtuoso journey of a character seared by trauma and oppression and carries the entire film with the tailwind of the female ensemble.”

Filmography

2021 Tatort “Borowski und das hungrige Herz” (TV movie, ARD)
2021 Trümmermädchen – Germany Year Zero – Feature film
2019 Gebranntes Kind – Short film

Valery Tscheplanowa als Gloria Deven

Valery Tscheplanowa was born in 1980 as Veronika Walerjewna Tscheplanowa in Kazan, where she spent most of her early years growing up. She began her training as a dancer at the Palucca School in Dresden at the age of 17. In 1999 she began studying puppetry at the “Ernst Busch” Academy in Berlin, where she switched to acting after three semesters. After graduating in 2005, she was a permanent ensemble member of the German Theater Berlin until 2009, then joined the Schauspiel Frankfurt and in 2013 the Residenztheater Munich. She has been a free lance actor since 2017.

After many years in the theatre, she has also been more frequently in front of the camera since 2007. In 2008, she appeared in a cinema production for the first time in “Speed Racer” by the Wachowskis. She also performs as a singer and takes part in radio play productions. In May 2018, Valery Tscheplanowa was elected as a new member of the Performing Arts Section of the Berlin Academy of Arts.

Filmography (Selection)

2021 Echo – Fiction movie
2021 Trümmermädchen – Germany Year Zero – Fiction movie
2021 Das Haus – Fiction movie
2019 Je suis Karl – Fiction movie
2012 Der Turm – Fiction movie
2011 Über uns das All – Fiction movie
2009 Whisky mit Wodka – Fiction movie
2008 Speed Racer – Fiction movie

Lena Urzendowsky as Evi

Lena Urzendowsky, born in 2000, grew up in Berlin and attended the theatre and musical school Stage Factory Berlin, where she graduated top of her class in 2012. She made her debut in a supporting role in the ZDF fairytale film “The Snow Queen“. After another supporting role in the feature film „Bibi & Tina: Mädchen gegen Jungs“ (2016), she became known to a wider audience in the same year through her leading role in the critically acclaimed TV film „Das weiße Kaninchen“ (English translation: “The White Rabbit“), in which she plays a teenage victim of cyber-grooming. For her lead role in the TV film „Der große Rudolph“, she received the Hessian Television Award in 2018 and in 2019 was awarded the Promotional Prize of the German Television Awards and the German Acting Award in the Young Talent category.

After graduating from high school in 2018, she played her first leading cinema role in Leonie Krippendorff‘s feature film „Kokon“ alongside Jella Haase, Lena Klenke and Elina Vildanova. The film celebrated its world premiere at the Berlinale and quickly became a festival favourite. Among many other awards, Lena Urzendowsky received the Bavarian Film Award for Best New Actress and the prestigious Iris Award for „Kokon“. Since 2020 she can be seen in the Netflix series „How to Sell Drugs Online (Fast)“ and received very positive feedback from audiences and the press for her ensemble lead role in the Amazon Prime series „Wir Kinder vom Bahnhof Zoo“.

Filmography (Selection)

2021 Trümmermädchen – Germany Year Zero – Fiction film
seit 2021 Wir Kinder vom Bahnhof Zoo – Series (Amazon Prime)
seit 2020 How to Sell Drugs Online (Fast) – Series (Netflix)
2020 Kokon – Fiction film
2012 Der große Rudolph – TV movie
2011 Das weiße Kaninchen – TV movie

Katja Hutko as Pauline

Katja Hutko was born in Berlin in 1994 and completed her acting training at the Rostock University of Music and Theatre from 2015 to 2019. In theatre, she most recently played the lead role in Lessing’s tragedy “Emilia Galotti“, directed by Kay Wuschek, with performances at the Volkstheater Rostock and the Theater an der Parkaue in Berlin.

In addition to theatre, she has also appeared on TV and the big screen for several years, having made her film debut in „Tschiller: Off Duty“ in 2016. In the 2021 TV film „Die unheimliche Leichtigkeit der Revolution“ she played a schoolgirl in communist era alongside Janina Fautz. She has appeared on television in numerous roles, often in series such as SOKO Wismar, SOKO Leipzig, SOKO Cologne or Notruf Hafenkante.

Filmography (Selection)

2021 Trümmermädchen – Germany Year Zero – Fiction film
2021 Die unheimliche Leichtigkeit der Revolution – TV movie
2020 Andere Eltern – TV movie
2017 Emma und die Wut – TV movie
2016 Schiller: Off Duty – Fiction film

Anna Gesa-Raija Lappe as Karin

Anna Gesa-Raija Lappe was born in Hamburg in 1991. She trained at the Academy for Performing Arts Baden-Württemberg in Ludwigsburg until 2017. She was nominated as Young Actress of the Year by the magazine “Theater today” for her work in the theatre production “Die Unerhörte“, which won the Körber Studio Young Director Award in 2017. In 2018, Anna Gesa-Raija Lappe changed to the Badisches Staatstheater Karlsruhe and was again nominated as Young Actress of the Year in 2019 for her portrayal of Ellida in “Nora, Hedda und ihre Schwestern“. Anna Gesa-Raija Lappe has been part of the ensemble of the Münchner Kammerspiele since 2020.

In 2016 she appeared in front of the camera for the first time, since then she has acted in several feature films.

Filmography (Selection)

2021 Trümmermädchen – Germany Year Zero – Fiction film
2017 Lenz – Fiction film
2017 Die Freibadclique – Fiction film
2016 Gestern habe ich angefangen Dich zu töten mein Herz – Fiction film

Lara Feith as Corinna

Lara Feith was born in Berlin in 1995. She trained at the “Ernst Busch” Academy of Dramatic Arts in Berlin from 2015 to 2019. Since 2017, Feith has played various roles in film and television, for example in the Netflix series „Dogs of Berlin“ and „Trümmermädchen – Germany Year Zero“.

She has appeared on stage at the Staatstheater Nuremberg, the Burgtheater Vienna, the Gorki Theater in Berlin and the Théâtre National Mohammed V in Rabat, Morocco.

Filmography (Selection)

2022 Arietes (working title) – Fiction film
2021 Trümmermädchen – Germany Year Zero – Fiction film
2019 Zwischen uns die Mauer – Fiction film
2018 Dogs of Berlin – Series (Netflix)
2017 Luft – Fiction film

Till Wonka as Hans

Till Wonka was born in Dresden in 1982 and completed his acting studies at the Hochschule für Musik und Theater “Felix Mendelssohn Bartholdy” Leipzig. He had engagements at the Schauspielhaus Leipzig, the Staatstheater Stuttgart and the Düsseldorfer Schauspielhaus, where he played leading roles in plays such as “Romeo and Juliet“, “Hamlet” and Homer‘s “Iliad“. Till Wonka received solo awards in 2005 at the Actors’ School Meeting in Frankfurt/Main and in 2006 at the International Actors’ School Meeting in Bratislava, as well as an ensemble award at the NRW Theatre Meeting in 2013. Since August 2013 he has been a permanent ensemble member at the Maxim Gorki Theater in Berlin.

Since 2011 he has also appeared in numerous TV productions such as „Tatort“ and „Polizeiruf 110“ and several feature films.

Filmography (Selection)

2021 Trümmermädchen – Germay Year Zero – Fiction film
2021 Polizeiruf 110 “An der Saale hellem Strand” – Fiction film
2018 Nachthall – Fiction film
2016 Tschick – Fiction film
2016 Beat Beat Heart – Fiction film (Darling Berlin)

Trümmermädchen - Germany Year Zero | Trailer (German with English subtitles) ᴴᴰ

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