Käthe Kollwitz: Images of a Life

Original title: (Käthe Kollwitz – Bilder eines Lebens)
GDR, 1986, 95 min, color
In German; English subtitles

Käthe Kollwitz (Jutta Wachowiak) is 47 years old and already a well-established artist in Germany and abroad when Peter, her youngest son, volunteers to join the German army in WWI and gets killed two weeks later. This painful tragedy changes Kollwitz’s life and art forever. She becomes a radical pacifist; in her art she reflects on her son and the meaning of war. After signing a petition against the Nazis, she is excluded from the Prussian Academy of Arts in Berlin and her art is labeled “degenerate.” Lonely and sick, Kollwitz spends the last days of her life near Dresden and she dies at the age of 78, before the end of WWII. 


Ralf Kirsten—director of The Lost Angel, a homage to German artist Ernst Barlach—used episodes from Kollwitz’s unpublished letters and diaries to fit them together in a mosaic-like self-portrait. 

Special features:
  • New digitally restored transfer
  • Biographies & Filmographies
  • “Käthe Kollwitz: A Life in Art”, by Seán Allan, University of Warwick
  • “Written Interview with Director Ralf Kirsten and Dramaturg Dieter Wolf” (1987)
  • Käthe Kollwitz: A Conversation with Hildegard Bachert (USA, 2016, dir. Holly Fisher, 19 min)

Käthe Kollwitz: Images of a Life

Screening Rights: 
Educational Streaming

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