The Legends of Rita : Summary

Length: 103 Min. Format: 35mm Eastmancolor

Premiere: 16.02.2000, Berlin, IFF (FBW "especially valuable")

Berlinale 2000 (silver bear, best actor: Bibiana Beglau and Nadja Uhl)

West Germany in the 1970s. The time is marked by a spirit of anarchy and rebellion. Rita Vogt (Bibiana Beglau) is seduced into the terrorist movement through her sense of justice and her love for Andi. A few years later, realizing that the RAF movement is falling apart, she goes underground, hiding out in East Germany. With the help of the Stasi Secret Service Agent, Erwin Hull, she assumes a "legend", a new identity amidst the everyday world of the working class where she is befriended by a young co-worker, Tatjana. As much as Rita wants to fit into her surroundings, Tatjana yearns to get out, to escape to the West. Nonetheless, they form a deep friendship which is brought to an abrupt end when a report on West German television blows Rita's cover. Rita must disappear again, but this time a new "legend" and a new city bring her luck. While on vacation, Rita meets Jochen, a university student working as a lifeguard. When he is posted to Moscow, he asks her to come with him, to be his wife and raise a family. But in the end Rita's past catches up with her - 1989 brings the fall of the Berlin Wall. East Germany is gone, and with it, her new life. "The film does not handle its subject in the form of a dramatised documentary," author Wolfgang Kohlhaase says. "The events are precisely researched, the people, their characters and the narrative arc are entirely fictitious. Everything was like this, nothing was exactly like that. The story of a young woman as it probably could only happen in Germany."