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Review: Two Mothers (2013)

Director: Anne Zohra Berrached | 75 minutes | drama | Acteurs: Karina Plachetka, Sabine Wolf, Florian Weber, Maarten van Santen, Tilmann A. Müller, Joachim Welz, Rolf Iben, Karin Herrgen, Nadine Landmann, Simon Gross, Robert Thiele, Andra Pfirrmann, Marcel Kluge, Tim Ihde, Soy Kounlavong,

Two women who want to have a child together run into many obstacles. The German filmmaker used the experiences of three lesbian couples as the basis for her screenplay ‘Zwei Mütter’, a docudrama in which she explains what these women encounter. Katja (43) and Isabelle (37), who have been a happy loving couple for years, are central to her film. Lately, the desire to raise a child together has grown ever greater; they are even already coming up with names. And so they decide to look for a sperm donor. It soon becomes apparent that most sperm banks and fertility clinics do not allow treatment for lesbian couples. If they do find a doctor, a long and costly road to successful fertilization begins. After months of treatments, Katja wants to give up, but then Isabelle comes up with one last option. Via a dealer in home insemination instruments, they come into contact with a world where men openly donate their sperm and even offer it for sale. Isabelle sees this as a last straw and is so obsessed with her desire to have children that their relationship is under severe pressure …

‘Zwei Mütter’ has a very personal theme; director Berrached therefore opted for a personal way of filming. We literally look over the shoulders of Katja and Isabelle and are thus confronted with the many obstacles they find in their path. According to the law, only straight couples are eligible for insemination, although after a while we see that something is possible if you put a lot of money on the table. And then it turns out that there are also two measures; if they were a ‘regular’ straight couple they could have kept all that money in their own pocket. After eleven unsuccessful attempts, frustrations (and debts) increase and decide to inseminate themselves. New obstacles follow, because once again find a suitable donor. The first thought is to look in the circle of or friends,

Berrached chose to tell the story of these two women – the only roles in the entire to be played by actors – as dry as nails, to underscore the frustration of not being able to have children, and the seriousness of being thwarted. by law. But a little humor had given the film much-needed air. The tactful way in which she addresses this sensitive theme deserves praise, and so does the daring form in which she cast the story. ‘Zwei Mütter’ is difficult to pigeonhole and on the one hand clearly has the characteristics of a documentary, but on the other hand it also has some ground with the genre of the feature film. The strength of this film lies mainly in the convincing way in which Berrached records the increasingly complex relationship between the two women.

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