The opening film of the 49th International Berlin Film Festival in 1999, Aimée & Jaguar drew attention not only for the lesbian love story that it narrates, but equally for the political position of the lovers -- Aimée, the wife of a Nazi officer, and Jaguar, a Jewish journalist. The story is based on the memoirs of Lilly Wust (the Aimée character), who is 85 and still living in Germany. In 1943, as Allied bombers leave Berlin in ruins, Lilly Wust Juliane Köhler earns a Cross of Motherhood for bringing up four children while husband Günther Detlev Buck is away fighting on the eastern front. She leads a bourgeois existence, with occasional love affairs on the side, and the bust of Hitler is a prominent decoration in their flat. When Lilly receives a love letter signed 'Jaguar,' she suspects a male admirer. But it is the self-confident Felice Schragenheim Maria Schrader who initiates this forbidden romance. A passionate love affair begins amidst the bombing raids and the threat of persecution. Madly in love, Lilly wants to divorce her husband, which causes a terrible storm, not just because her lover is a woman, but because she is Jewish and fighting for the Resistance. But nothing stops the love-blind Lilly. The two women make a pact of love and marriage and try to block out the reality of war and persecution; however, the Gestapo soon catches up with them. Aimée & Jaguar is based on Erica Fischer's best-selling book, published in 1994 and translated into eleven languages; the real life Lilly Wust was 80 years old when she told Erica Fischer her story. Maria Schrader and Juliane Köhler shared the Silver Bear for the Best Actress at the 49th Berlin International Film Festival, for their roles in Aimée & Jaguar, while the film received the Teddy Award, given to films dealing with gay and lesbian issues.
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