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I Am My Own Woman More at IMDbPro »Ich bin meine eigene Frau (original title)

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7 out of 7 people found the following review useful:

one of a kind film biography by the pioneering von Praunheim

8/10
Author: Jan Spaapen from Cape Town, ZA
16 July 2000

I AM MY OWN WOMAN is one of Rosa von Praunheim's best films. A biography about famed Berlin transvestite/transgendered Charlotte von Mahlsdorf, the film blends the shock-value elements of Praunheim's early underground career, his mid career "mockumentary" phase (NEUROSIA), and his present more mainstream career (EINSTEIN OF SEX, also a biography, but not as a documentary). The film uses Tima die Gottliche (Tima, the God-like) a famed Berlin-scene entertainer, as the young von Mahlsdorf. If you like Tima by the way, who pretty much lives up to his/her name when performing, see NEUROSIA, and EINSTEIN...There are many similarities shared here by the director, lead actor, and the subject of the film. All three are Berlin-spawned male artists, using female names, and two of them take their surnames from the mediocre suburbs they come from (Mahlsdorf and Praunheim). Charlotte, from the sleepy East Berlin suburb of Mahlsdorf, was like von Praunheim a pioneering figure, but in Communist East Germany, arguably a more formidable feat. She succeeded, during the DDR (East German) period, in saving one of East Berlin's most beautiful surviving palaces from being razed having fallen in total decay after the war, and also preserved the entire contents of East Berlin's first (and only for many years) gay bar, after the DDR government closed the bar, and moved to demolish the building. Its contents are now in a museum in Mahlsdorf. Charlotte, however, had to leave Mahlsdorf, Berlin, and indeed Germany, to flee from the unwanted notoriety this film gave her. She now lives in a town of Sweden, but even there has been reportedly harassed by persevering tourists. See this film to see why Charlotte became such a a living legend, definitely her own woman. The movie is also vintage von Praunheim, and a good peek at Tima's talents. But Charlotte's star shines through, as it should.

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