A story about a time when church and men ruled the world
Last night at the current Munich Film Festival, I went to see the German/Austrian Made-for-TV movie, written by Peter Probst and directed by Dagmar Hirtz, "Die Hebamme Auf Leben und Tod" ("Delivering Hope"), the story of a midwife in the early 18th century in the mountains of Austria, in a time when the Catholic Church, its priests and men were the rulers over the women.
No red carpet for this premiere screening, but the foyer was so packed that the actors and the audience didn't had a chance but to mingle, or else get smashed to pieces.
Rosa Koelbl (Brigitte Hobmaier), a respected and skillful midwife in a small village in the mountains, with younger sister Anna (Pippa Galli), who was impregnated by Karl Bachler (Florian Brückner), the son of the village's wealthiest farmer, but denies fatherhood, is offered a job in the city by Dr. Gennaro (Misel Maticevic), where he works in a newly invented birthing hospital. She accepts, taking Anna with her, but conflicts soon arise between them despite their growing feelings for one another: he resents the fact that Rosa's more "primitive" handling of childbirth is often more successful than his academic approach. Due to not delivering an orphan baby to foundling house, Rosa and Anna have to flee back to their hometown, where Rosa's views on birth control and spousal abuse set her on a collision course with the church. In the end the church wins, and she is jailed for three years and loses her license as a midwife. The doctors are supposed to be the good guys, but by the ways they fulfill their profession, and keep their mishaps under wraps, and blame the women instead, it is not so sure whether they are really the good guys.
The time isn't unknown to me, but it was certainly for many others in the audience. Most of the happenings on screen I had read about, but the reactions round me were rather puzzled. But acting was great, the feel and look of the movie, the choice of the actors was wonderful, but in this case despite the impressive photography, the story is meant for TV. The actors are native speakers, so it will become interesting how the German speaking audiences will deal with the language - perhaps the network will provide subtitles?
After the screening, director Dagmar Hirtz brought most of her crew on stage, and most of the main actors, especially mentioning the missing Florian Brückner as being one of the nicest people she had ever met, playing the bad guy of the piece.
The audience wasn't invited to asked questions afterwards, but instead was invited to the premiere party in a nearby café.
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