As part of its latest tour The Personal is Political: The Films of Margarethe von Trotta, the Independent Cinema Office graces film enthusiasts of the 38th Cambridge Film Festival with the legendary German director’s solo directorial debut, THE SECOND AWAKENING OF CHRISTA KLAGES.
The film tells the story of Christa Klages, a young woman who decides to rob a bank in order to afford the daycare centre she established, where her own daughter is enrolled. She manages to do so with the help of her lover, Werner Wiedemann, and another young man named Wolfgang. Our protagonist then sets out for a life on the run, chased by the police and a woman she held at gunpoint during the heist.
THE SECOND AWAKENING OF CHRISTA KLAGES falls directly within von Trotta’s body of work, which consists of creating new representations of women. Christa, portrayed by Tina Engel, is a fierce and caring woman willing to go to challenging lengths to accomplish her ambition. Through her character, von Trotta displays her interest in the feminine psyche and the bonds a woman forms during her lifetime. Despite the multiple subplots of the bank robbery or the day-care centre being evicted, one focuses on Christa’s journey and the relationships she forms or supports. Engel’s acting is truthful and perfectly in sync with the woman created by the director, leading one to empathise and not judge.
By definition, THE SECOND AWAKENING OF CHRISTA KLAGES is a story of relationships: relationships with one’s lover, friend, family and self.