Who gets to show what? And who is being looked at? REPRODUKTION looks at three generations of women to examine the ideal images of women in art: The larger-than-life male genius on the wall - and the selflessly loving mother carved in stone. Does one ideal exclude the other? Like a tableau and in concentrated movements, the film describes power, class and gender relations across three generations of women, tells of discarded drawings and unfinished careers: The assumptions and demands of each role are reproduced in different ways - until they disappear in care work. In the process, something of the exclusion criteria of institutions, of the power system of an art academy and its spaces, becomes visible. REPRODUKTION is an architectural journey through time, on the trail of stories that have disappeared. Stories of women artists.
When I become a professor at the same institution where not only I, but also my mother and my grandmother studied, I feel like a character from the film LAST YEAR IN MARIENBAD. I walk through the time-honoured halls and time seems to have stood still. In this place, ideals in their supposedly pure form look out at me as sculptures that are being memorialised: The male genius, centred on himself, naked, standing in front of a veiled group of women - and the kneeling mother with her child, staring selflessly into nothingness.
I ask myself: Why did my grandmother actually stop making art? Why did she become a housewife and mother of four children? And what does all this have to do with the naked, larger-than-life genius on the wall in the auditorium of the art academy, looking down on the young, hopeful students - about to descend from a cloud to proclaim his ideas? Along the privileged starting point in each case - what woman in 1945, directly after the Second World War, comes up with the idea of studying art? - I examine the respective conditions of the time - and the understanding of art associated with this period. My mother, who was also privileged, tried to negate her bourgeois background - and profited from it at the same time. As a 68er, she decided to do everything differently, but she also stopped making art when she had me and my siblings and made a living as a single teacher. And me? When I, the third in the family, became a professor, everything seemed to have been achieved: the self-centred genius who is only responsible for herself - that's me! But it was only when I became pregnant and had children that I realised I had reached an invisible limit. I only realised that my feeling of failure was not a personal problem when I started this film.
Over five years of work on this film, the specific question and the form slowly emerged: Wouldn't it be consistent to fimically set what seems so personal directly at the place of work? The first interview with my grandmother was made back in 2012, and by 2019 at the latest, when a colleague asked me what I had actually "achieved" during my time at the university, I realised that I really had to start this film! Creating and creating - what has what value in this society? The project was created together with my partner and father of our children, the image designer Christoph Rohrscheidt.
Berlinale 2024 (world premiere)
111 minutes | Germany 2024
starring MAIKE BRUHNS, OLAV DUYSEN, FRIEDERIKE HARMANN, JAN HAMANN, YVONNE HODEL, SASKIA KRAFFT, ELISABETH KÜNKEL, MICHAELA MELIÁN, JULIA MUMMENHOFF, MARIA-LOUISE PETHKE, ROSEMARIE PETHKE, GISELA SCHÄDEL, DIETER SCHÄDEL
author & director KATHARINA PETHKE camera CHRISTOPH ROHRSCHEIDT sound recording TIMO SELENGIA montage SIMON QUACK (BFS) music NIKA SON editing SIMON QUACK (BFS) dramaturgy CHRISTIANE BÜCHNER editorial KATYA MADER & UDO BREMER child care MARIANA ANDRADE HERNANDEZ, VIKI KÜHN, CELINE LÜTJE (ET Al.) director assistant JANNI JUNGBLUT production assistant SARAH DRATH grip MARVIN HESSE sound design LUKAS BRANDES sound mix TORBEN SEEMANN color correction ANDREAS TEICHERT subtitles & translation MAYA CONNORS title / vfx JONATHAN HAPP graphics LASLO STRONG producers FRANK SCHEUFFELE, KARSTEN KRAUSE & JULIA CÖLLEN
produced by FÜNFERFILM in co-production with ZDF/3sat
funded by BKM, MOIN FILMFÖRDERUNG HAMBURG SCHLESWIG-HOLSTEIN & NORDMEDIA