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SUMMER LIGHTNING

Germany, 1972 (MIFF 1973)

Director: Volker Schlöndorff

Summer Lightning is directed by Volker Schlondorff who has won an international reputation with films like Young Torless and The Sudden Wealth of the Poor People of Kombach, and it stars his wife, Margarethe von Trotta, who also co-scripted the film with her husband.

Elizabeth, seeking an escape from the frustrations of the life of a housewife, obtains a divorce from her husband, but is refused custody of their five-year-old child. In order to make herself self-reliant in a world dominated by the male, she seeks employment and new friends, but her search is in vain. Her dream of liberation is frustrated by the fact that her only training seems to have been built around her domestic role. She is forced to take any job that offers—as a hostess at a fair, as a fur salesgirl, and as a typist. Her only comfort comes in the fulfilment of a childhood dream—she studies tap-dancing and singing 'like Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers', but she has left it too late. Success lies in youth, and she is thirty. Her attempts to gain access to her child are failures, and she seems to have nowhere to turn.

Schoendorff's film expresses a real understanding of and concern for the contemporary woman's urgent desire for emancipation, and it finds no easy solutions.

See also...

THE LOST HONOR OF KATHARINA BLUM

Katharina Blum is a divorcee, young, attractive and shy. At a party, she meets a young man and they go back to her apartment. In the morning, heavily armed police burst in, but the young man has ... More »

THE TIN DRUM

Volker Schlondörff has been at the head of German production since the mid-sixties when the revival in quality commenced. His earlier films like Young Torless, The Lost Honour of Katherina Blum, The ... More »

YOUNG TORLESS

This faithful screen version of Robert Musil's well-known novel is a major work of the new German cinema. Set in a remote Austrian boarding school before the First World War. the story centres on one ... More »

COUP DE GRÂCE

Coup de grace is set in an unnamed Baltic State, in 1919 After the Russian Revolution, the defeated Germans sent volunteer troops to join the Expeditionary Forces fighting the revolutionaries At that ... More »

THE SUDDEN FORTUNE OF THE PEOPLE OF KOMBACH

Within the framework of a social parable, the film attempts to show how easily the structure of a society works to prevent the under-privileged from recognising their true position. Dealing with the ... More »

THE GOALKEEPER'S FEAR OF THE PENALTY KICK

Joseph Bioch is the goal-keeper, and in the film's opening sequence he fails to save a penalty kick. He departs suddenly from the ground and we follow his actions through a series of short scenes. He ... More »

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