Seitensprung (1980)

Run Time - 89 min.  |   Countries - East Germany  |  
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More of a symbolic drama commenting on human nature and the contemporary human condition than a straightforward story, Die Ortliebschen Frauen is based on a book by Franz Nabl called the Grave of the Living. The older children and mother in a grieving family are trying to pull themselves together after the father has died. Youngest daughter Josefine (Libgart Schwarz) is the strongest-willed of the four and decides early on that she is the only one who can really keep her family from falling apart. As a result, she assumes power and shoves her mentally unstable mother into the background while turning her older sister into the housekeeper. Her dim-witted brother seems to offer no opportunity to help out, and so Josefine eventually locks him into the basement. Awkward and uneven in parts, the drama leans toward the literary and theatrical.