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American Women's Club of Hamburg

So weit und groß - Die Natur des Otto Modersohn

Starts February 3

In 1889 Otto Modersohn (1856-1943) was one of the founding members of the artist colony in Worpswede near Bremen. On a visit from his native Westphalia he had fallen in love with this mystic North German landscape. “So weit und gross wie am Meer” (As open and great as by the sea) he marveled. Here he found his subjects ‘pleinair,’ away from urban centers and academic studies; here he was to spend most of his life. His art will have to appeal to anyone to whom this landscape is dear. This documentary tells of his life and work, utilizing documents of that time only: artworks and photographs; his diaries and letters, and those of his wives and friends. Art and artists speak for themselves, no interpretation or dramatization. To lend more immediacy to the film, each person quoted is given his/her own ‘voice’ by a narrator. Film clips from the turn of the century, with no relation to the artists, should have better been left out though, and text inserts are often confusing and appear amateurish.

The part about his wife Paula Modersohn-Becker, who was to become an important expressionist painter, is the most interesting to me. Modersohn was one of the first to recognize her talent and encouraged this independent and unconventional woman (spirited voice by Verena Güntner), with whom he had an unusually emancipated relationship.

Script: Marina Bohlmann-Modersohn; Director / Editing / Producer: Carlo Modersohn; Narrator: Hanns Zischler; Voices by: Robert Levin, Verena Güntner, Matthias Scherwenikas

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