Note: This film is showing in limited theaters. For a list, go to the official site and click "Dates."
When in February of 1943 a group of Aryan women in Berlin decided to take on the Nazis, their courage manifested itself in a spontaneous and unorganized instinct rather than a deliberate protest. Theirs was a bravery born out of marital fidelity, anguish of separation, and a consequent fury.
Staring down SS soldiers was for these women—a group historians say was anywhere between 150 and 1,000—the most natural thing to do. Those who gathered on Rosenstrasse, in front of the building where their husbands were awaiting deportation to concentration camps, were not feminists or any other kind of activists. They stood there because they demanded to be seen as human, and because they demanded that their husbands be treated as human, too. The greatest acts of courage are sometimes as simple as that.
Rosenstrasse, a feature film based on this true story and by the German director Margarethe von Trotta, opens in the New York apartment of recently widowed Ruth Weinstein (Jutta Lampe). She is mourning her husband the orthodox Jewish way: she drapes fabrics over mirrors and the television set, forbids her daughter to answer the phone when it rings, and turns framed photographs face down. She indicates to her twentysomething daughter Hannah (Maria Schrader) that her Gentile boyfriend isn't welcome in her home. The gathering family and friends are surprised by Ruth's sudden rediscovery of Jewishness, and Hannah wonders if her mother's gone off the deep end.
The widow begins to think back to the childhood memories she's been repressing. We see her as an 8-year-old girl (played endearingly by Svea Lohde), when she stood with the ...1
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