21 user 35 critic

In a Year with 13 Moons (1978)

In einem Jahr mit 13 Monden (original title)
Not Rated | | Drama | 11 June 1980 (USA)
A transgender woman tries to salvage something from the wreckage love has made of her life by confronting her anguished past, hoping to find ultimate acceptance among quondam acquaintances and herself.
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Complete credited cast:
Volker Spengler ... Erwin / Elvira Weishaupt
Ingrid Caven ... Die rote Zora
Gottfried John ... Anton Saitz
Elisabeth Trissenaar ... Irene Weishaupt
Eva Mattes ... Marie-Ann Weishaupt
Günther Kaufmann ... J. Smolik, Chauffeur
Lilo Pempeit Lilo Pempeit ... Schwester Gudrun (as Lieselotte Pempeit)
Isolde Barth ... Sybille
Karl Scheydt ... Christoph Hacker
Walter Bockmayer Walter Bockmayer ... Seelenfrieda
Peter Kollek Peter Kollek ... Saeufer
Bob Dorsay Bob Dorsay ... Selbstmörder
Gerhard Zwerenz Gerhard Zwerenz ... Burghard Hauser, Schriftsteller


A transgender woman tries to salvage something from the wreckage love has made of her life by confronting her anguished past, hoping to find ultimate acceptance among quondam acquaintances and herself.

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Not Rated | See all certifications »

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Did You Know?


The tape-recorded narration heard throughout the film (particularly during the final scene) was not scripted. Volker Spengler (playing Elvira Weishaupt) and Rainer Werner Fassbinder recorded the narration together, with Fassbinder asking questions and Spengler responding in character. In the final cut of the film, Fassbinder's voice is edited out. See more »


References You're Never Too Young (1955) See more »


Schöner fremder Mann
Music and Words by Athena Hosey and Hal Gordon and German lyrics by Camillo Felgen
Performed by Connie Francis
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User Reviews

The 13 Suns of a Great Artist
23 May 2018 | by gilcostelloSee all my reviews

There is what I consider one of the greatest films of all time by one of the great film artists of the 20th century, Rainer Werner Fassbinder, who died at age 38, leaving behind 40 films. The film is In a Year With 13 Moons. I hesitate to even write about it, knowing that no matter how close I come to revealing a sense of the richness and complexity of this film, it will only detract from what Fassbinder actually accomplished. It is a confessional film, and although certainly not intended to be a critique of gay culture, in the end, by its beautifully brutal honesty, ended in being just that to so many prominent gay persons, certainly not all, but simultaneously revealing that gay culture is but a reflection or a microcosm of the larger, universal matrix of sado-masochistic imprisonment that no one escapes from other than as martyr-saint (I can embrace Saint=Fassbinder), a matrix that includes all landscapes that are relational, societal, religious, philosophical, anthropological, economic and political of every shape and hue. This film resides in eternity, so there is no end to it-it is epic. It requires multiple viewings, and then, after a pause lasting moments or years, beginning again. It cost a little over $300,000 to make, yet every frame is perfection in lighting, dialogue, mise-en-scene, camera work, editing and directing, and he did it all himself, except with some help in editing, a personal film of the highest order. He tells the painful truth in every second, never letting up, from the beginning alarming us to the fact that this film will be an emotional slaughterhouse with every curtain ripped away. Stay at your own risk, or cover your eyes and stuff up your ears, because this will be a bumpy road like no other. And its finale reveals the glory of the dignity of the human person that can reside in no place other than the truth. Few films capture this in such magnitude. I think of Antonioni's L' Aventura, Bergman's Winter Light, and Tarkovsky's Solaris, but no film I can think of is as personal as 13 Moons.

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West Germany



Release Date:

11 June 1980 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

In a Year with 13 Moons See more »


Box Office


DEM700,000 (estimated)
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Company Credits

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Technical Specs


Sound Mix:



Color (Eastmancolor)

Aspect Ratio:

1.66 : 1
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