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Switzerland, 1980 (MIFF 1981, New Directors)

Director: Gertrud Pinkus

The print that is being sent to the Festival is the only one available and has French subtitles An English subtitled version is not yet obtainable.

"At every festival, there is always one film which comes from nowhere to grab the attention of the audience and make it all worthwhile In Mannheim, it was an extraordinary film from Switzerland co-produced by German television II Valore della Donna e il suo Silenzio (A Woman's Greatest Value is Her Silence), directed by Gertrud Pinkus.

The film opens on a shot of a tape recorder as a woman filmmaker is doing research for a film about migrant women in Germany The woman she is interviewing refuses to be photographed, but is prepared to tell her story.

After some description, one is led into a narrative about this woman's life in Southern Italy her elopement, pregnancy, fear of being abandoned, marriage, Catholicism and the family she raises It is a document of extraordinary power and force, and it is also highly skilled and innovative filmmaking Pinkus' task is not merely to illustrate the woman's words there is a continuing tension between sound and image, and often a further tension in the sound of the narration and the dialogue accompanying the image.

The image is also used to illustrate the woman's situation, no better than in the long sequence of the woman going to work in a factory and leaving home with two of her children before dawn to start at 7 a.m.

Notable also in the final stages of the film is the virtual disappearance from it of her husband, by now fully integrated into a new society, and confident in its language and manners He, of course, still retains the old world virtues (and thus refuses to let his pregnancy-prone wife take the pill)

A Woman's Greatest Value is a moving and emotional film It is even more so by being closely analytic and detailed The ovation it received was thoroughly deserved and hopefully it will find a much wider audience outside as well as within Europe "

Cinema Papers

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