pandoras-legacy-2023-pandoras-vermachtnis-christlieb-recensione-review-kritik

PANDORA’S LEGACY

      Comments Off on PANDORA’S LEGACY

This post is also available in: Italiano (Italian) Deutsch (German)

by Angela Christlieb

grade: 7.5

With a directorial approach that is both simple and complex at the same time, and in which there is no lack of strongly poetic and contemplative moments, Pandora’s Legacy proved to be an extremely mature and sincere documentary. An exciting journey between past and present in which the past itself appears on the movie screen more alive and pulsating than ever. At the Diagonale 2024.

Her name was Gertrude Hennings…

‘Behind every great man is a strong woman’. This sentence would seem to fit countless situations. And it is precisely from this concept that the documentary Pandora’s Legacy, directed by Angela Christlieb and presented as an Austrian premiere on the occasion of the Diagonale 2024, takes off. In Pandora’s Legacy, we learn more about one of the great directors of the Weimar Republic (and film history in general) from the point of view of someone who lived by his side all his life: Georg Wilhelm Pabst.

Georg Wilhelm Pabst, therefore, was married for more than forty years and until his death to Gertrude Hennings, who, over the years, wrote numerous diaries in which she told of her life, her husband and her special relationship with him. It was from these diaries, therefore, that Pandora’s Legacy came to life, which, in turn, thanks also to the testimonies of Pabst’s grandchildren, took us on a long and exciting journey that is much more topical than it might initially have seemed.

The pages of Trude Pabst’s diaries are browsed through one after the other. Past and present meet in the places where the two protagonists lived. Precious testimonies help us to get to know better not only one of the greatest directors in film history, but also an authoritarian man whose presence tended almost to intimidate others. Just as we can see from some old black and white photographs, where the director appears happy together with his grandchildren.

Between Georg Wilhelm Pabst and his wife Trude it was love at first sight. Yet despite her many potentials, she was never able to pursue her career as an actress. “You are not photogenic enough,” her husband used to tell her. The photographs hanging in the house of the two, however, show something else entirely. And so, Pandora’s Legacy, in telling us everything (almost) exclusively from a woman’s point of view, inevitably ends up dealing with sensitive and extremely topical issues such as patriarchy and the freedom to express oneself freely (the discourse on the difficulties encountered by the director in National Socialist Germany during World War II is particularly interesting in this regard).

Trude Pabst was always a strong woman. This is evident not only from her words and her ability to analyse events, but also from the testimony of her own grandchildren. Her relationship with Georg Wilhelm Pabst goes hand in hand with some scenes taken directly from the director’s films. And while Greta Garbo or Louise Brooks (whose photos were even recently hung next to Trude’s in the director’s home) appear to us as unapproachable muses, we can at the same time relive some of the most important milestones in film history. With a directorial approach that is both simple and complex at the same time, in which there is no lack of strongly poetic and contemplative moments, Pandora’s Legacy has thus proved to be an extremely mature and sincere documentary. An exciting journey between past and present in which the past itself appears on the movie screen more alive and pulsating than ever.

Original title: Pandoras Vermächtnis
Directed by: Angela Christlieb
Country/year: Austria / 2023
Running time: 87’
Genre: documentary
Screenplay: Angela Christlieb
Cinematography: Max Berner
Produced by: Amour Fou Vienna

Info: the page of Pandora’s Legacy on iMDb; the page of Pandora’s Legacy on the website of the Diagonale; the page of Pandora’s Legacy on the website of the Amour Fou Film