Our Rating: ★★★★½
L Factor: Lesbian Film
Short Take: Love in Nazi Germany
Alternate Titles:
Year: 1999
Duration: 125 min
Language: Germany/German
MPAA: Not Rated
Director: Max Farberbock
Writer: Max Farberbock, Rona Munro
Starring: Maria Schrader, Juliane Kohler, Johanna Wokalek, Heike Makatsch, Elisabeth Degen, Detlev Buck, Inge Keller, Kyra Mladeck, Sarah Camp, Klaus Manchen, Margit Bendokat, Jochen Stern, Peter Weck, Lia Dultzkaya, Dani Levy

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Aimee and JaguarBased on a true story, Aimée & Jaguar takes place in Berlin in 1943. Germany is losing the war and the Allies are bombing the city, but the hunt for Jews continues by the Gestapo. Felice Schragenheim (Maria Schrader) is Jewish, but works in a newspaper office, where they know her as non-Jewish, “Mrs. Schrader.” She is also a lesbian and works for the underground, passing along information and helping Jews escape the country.

She meets Lilly Wust (Juliane Köhler), a German mother of four, who is married to a soldier who comes home only occasionally.

Felice leaves her current girlfriend Ilse (Johanna Wokalek, Pope Joan) to begin a relationship with Lilly. The two fall in love, spending beautiful days together in the midst of bombing, chaos and danger.

Felice just disappears sometimes but finally she lets her beloved in on the secret that she is Jewish. When Lilly’s husband Günther (Detlev Buck), a Nazi, comes home one night and finds the two in bed together, Lilly unexpectedly asks him for a divorce. The danger level for Felice and her friends hits an all time high but they have forged passports at the ready to leave the country. Not willing to leave Lilly, Felice stays behind.

But love is not enough ….

The film is very moving – about two women from different worlds, even though they live in the same city. Each is strong and passionate, braving everything to be with the woman she loves.

The historical details of the film add to its authenticity, from the hairstyles to the details in the apartment. It’s quite powerful in conveying this horrible time in history, while telling a beautiful love story. It begins and ends with an elderly Lilly (Inge Keller, Gespenster) running into Ilse (Kyra Mladeck) again and reliving the story.

The film is based on the book by Erica Fischer, using the Holocaust research of American journalist Charles Brady, who spoke to the real Lilly Wurst. It was nominated for a Golden Globe for Best Foreign Language Film. Both actresses won German Film Awards. (AB)