Oskar Roehler directs this bleak look at a down-and-out writer's alcohol-drenched final days. Though the central character is named Hanna Flander, the film basically tells the real-life story of noted author Gisela Elsner, who threw herself out of a fourth story window in 1992. Elsner is also the filmmaker's mother. Given the film's highly personal subject matter, Roehler lends the film a remarkable emotional remoteness along with a breathtaking visual style, shot in stark black and white. It opens with unrepentant Leninist Hanna (Hannelore Elsner, no relation) drunken, depressed, and chain-smoking as she watches the Berlin Wall collapse while in her Munich abode. She sells most of her belongings and moves to Berlin, hooking up with old flame Jaochim Rau (Michael Gwisdek) in the process. She suffers one setback after another, ultimately ending up in a scuzzy tenement in East Berlin, which she gives to a kind Eastern German woman (Claudia Geisler). A long admirer of Communism and East Germany, she has difficult time believing the realities of that repressive police state. This film was screened at the 2000 Cannes Film Festival.
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