The Trouble With Love | Chicago Reader

The Trouble With Love

Helke Sander (The All-Around Reduced Personality) is almost unique among feminist filmmakers for her willingness to confront the cracks in the ideology. Her heroines are not the strong, secure moon goddesses dreamt of in didactic feminist art, but humanly scaled, frequently confused individuals (and Sander, an appealing, intelligent screen presence, plays most of them herself). In this 1984 film, Sander appears as a model young Berliner, politically aware and professionally competent, who is having an affair with an equally enlightened doctor (Lou Castel) who was once the lover of her best friend, the more conventionally “feminine” (helpless and fluttery) Irmtraut. When Sander discovers the doctor has been seeing Irmtraut again, she feels jealous and betrayed, even though they have agreed, modern-minded as they are, that they have no claims on each other. Her resentment reaches epic proportions: has she been betrayed, or has her cause? And if her cause brings down so much personal unhappiness, is it still worth pursuing? Sander's direction is cool, crisp, and witty, standing at eye level with her characters.

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