You will be redirected back to your article in seconds

My Heart Is Mine Alone

Helma Sanders-Brahms' "My Heart Is Mine Alone" is the kind of film that's given German cinema a bad name for the past 30 years. Flat, posey and uninflected, this tribute to the works and love affair of poets Else Lasker-Schueler and Gottfried Benn assumes rather than reaches out for an audience; worse, it fails to make a convincing case for the stature of either artist, key figures in the lyrical expressionist movement of the '20s. Cultural webs look like the only outlet for this one, which got a general thumbs-down at Berlin. Film starts off interestingly, with re-enacted scenes and docu footage sketching Lasker-Schueler's Jewish upbringing and Benn's Protestant one among the Brandenburg gentry of the late 19th century. She marries and has a son, later running away with him; Benn goes on to study medicine, forming a close friendship with a "blood brother" from childhood.

Else Lasker-Schueler ..... Lena Stolze Gottfried Benn ..... Cornelius Obonya Pastor Benn ..... Oliver Grice Bertold Lasker ..... Thomas Ruffer Peter Hille ..... Lothar von Versen

The poets’ paths finally cross — and the pic starts its slow, wearisome decline — when he sees her performing an exotic routine with a flute in a nightclub and becomes enamored of her art. Hereon, the film has them reciting yards of their poetry to the camera or to each other (“I am the brink of your abyss that brushes against you,” etc.), between documenting Lasker-Schueler’s persecution by the Nazis and eventual exile, and Benn’s initial support of the jackbooters and later disillusionment. She eventually died in Jerusalem in 1945, and he a decade later.

Actress Lena Stolze does her utmost to breathe some life into the dryly realized character of the eccentric poet, and the best that can be said about her perf is that the pic would be unbearable without her charm and energy. Cornelius Obonya is vapid as Benn.

Film was shot in 12 days, mostly on a soundstage, and Angelika Flacke’s improvised score, mixing free jazz and Tibetan ritual music, only adds to the impression of cloying pretentiousness. For the record, Lasker-Schueler was also one of the subjects of Amos Gitai’s equally stagy “Berlin Jerusalem” (1989).

My Heart Is Mine Alone


Production: A Helmer Sanders production, in association with Arte/WDR. (International sales: Futura Film, Munich.) Produced by Helma Sanders-Brahms. Co-producers, Ute Casper, Christhart Burgmann. Directed, written by Helma Sanders-Brahms.

Crew: Camera (color), Roland Dressel; editors, Monika Schindler, Nadine Schulze, Sanders-Brahms; music, Peter Kowald, Eckard Koltermann, Angelika Flacke; production design, Kerstin Drechsel; costume design, Saskia Richter; sound, Joseph Poerzchen, Bernhard Joest, Thomas Erkelenz. Reviewed at Berlin Film Festival (noncompeting), Feb. 17, 1997. Running time: 105 MIN.

With: Else Lasker-Schueler ..... Lena Stolze Gottfried Benn ..... Cornelius Obonya Pastor Benn ..... Oliver Grice Bertold Lasker ..... Thomas Ruffer Peter Hille ..... Lothar von VersenWith: Stefan Ostertag, Christian Schlemmer, Nicolai Albrecht, Klaus Bunk, Sabine Panzer, Rene Schubert, Anna Sanders, Leonard Schnitman.

More Film

  • Ari Emanuel Endeavor

    Endeavor IPO Filing Offers Details of Company's Financials, Leadership Pay Packages

    Endeavor’s IPO filing Thursday offers a hard look at the company’s financial performance during the past three years during a period of rapid growth for the company that’s home to UFC, WME, Professional Bull Riders and a clutch of other assets. Endeavor is generating solid free cash flow from operations and healthy adjusted earnings for [...]

  • Inside amfAR's Cannes Gala

    Inside amfAR's Cannes Gala: Mariah Carey, Kendall Jenner and Tiffany Trump

    Kendall Jenner caused a commotion when she arrived. Tiffany Trump went unrecognized until a member of the press pointed her out as she made her way down the carpet. And Mariah Carey flew in to perform a couple of songs. Welcome to this year’s AmfAR Gala Cannes, the AIDS organization’s annual — and largest — [...]

  • 'Mektoub, My Love: Intermezzo' Review: Abdellatif

    Cannes Film Review: 'Mektoub, My Love: Intermezzo'

    A simple but somehow atypical shot opens Abdellatif Kechiche’s new film: a serene closeup of a young woman’s face, as seen through the camera lens of Amir, a budding photographer still finding his perspective. Her expression is ambiguously tranquil, her long hair lightly rustled by a humid breeze, all softly lit by a sinking afternoon [...]

  • Crown Vic

    Thomas Jane's Police Thriller 'Crown Vic' Sells to Screen Media (EXCLUSIVE)

    Screen Media has bought North American rights to writer-director Joel Souza’s police crime-thriller “Crown Vic,” starring Thomas Jane and Luke Kleintank. The distributor closed terms during the Cannes Film Festival amid a competitive bidding situation between seven other suitors. Screen Media plans to release the pic this fall. “Crown Vic” premiered in April at the [...]

  • Colleen Bell

    Colleen Bell Replaces Amy Lemisch as California Film Commission Director

    Veteran entertainment executive and ambassador Colleen Bell will replace Amy Lemisch as director of the California Film Commission. Bell, who was appointed by Gov. Gavin Newsom on Thursday, has worked as a consultant since 2017. She was the U.S. ambassador to Hungary from 2014 to 2017. She held several positions at Bell-Phillip Television Productions, including [...]

  • Jon Feltheimer

    Lionsgate Posts Loss, Underperforms Wall Street Expectations

    Lionsgate has posted a quarterly loss and its revenues and operating income have come in under Wall Street projections, despite growth from its premium cable channel, Starz. The studio reported a net loss of $24 million, or 11 cents a share, with adjusted operating income of $103 million for its fourth fiscal quarter ended March [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content