Pioneering female filmmaker Margarethe von Trotta will receive this year’s lifetime achievement honor at the 35th European Film Awards.
The German director and screenwriter has been a force on the European film scene for nearly 50 years since her directorial debut The Lost Honor of Katharina Blum, co-directed with Volker Schlöndorff, back in 1975. She has carved out a unique position in cinema history with her focus on female stories, particularly portraits of real-life women overlooked or ignored by history.
Her second film, and first solo directing effort, Marianne & Juliane (1981), which won the Golden Lion in Venice, is a lightly-fictionalized retelling of the story of sisters Christiane and Gudrun Ensslin, one of whom became a journalist and women’s rights advocate, the other a left-wing terrorist. Barbara Sukowa, who starred as Marianne in the film, became von Trotta’s muse, playing the lead roles in several of the director’s biopics, including German-Polish socialist leader Rosa Luxemburg (1986), the visionary medieval nun Hildegard von Bingen in Vision (2009) and the philosopher and writer Hannah Arendt (2009). The first won Sukowa the best actress trophy in Cannes, the latter the German Film Award for best actress.
Von Trotta’s work has often been compared with that of Swedish auteur Ingmar Bergman, a director von Trotta explored in her 2018 documentary Searching for Ingmar Bergman.
For her upcoming feature, Bachmann & Frisch, von Trotta focuses on the relationship between Austrian poet and author Ingeborg Bachmann and Swiss novelist and playwright Max Frisch. Currently in post-production, the film stars Vicky Krieps (Phantom Thread, Old) as Bachmann and Ronald Zehrfeld (Barbara) as Frisch.
Von Trotta will receive her lifetime honor at the 2022 European Film Awards in Reykjavik, Iceland on Dec. 10.