Film Series: PROMISING THE MOON (2011)


Location: Browning Cinema, DeBartolo Performing Arts Center

p(image-left). "!/assets/60779/moon.jpg(Promising the Moon)!":/news-events/film-series/ German with English subtitles DAS BLAU VOM HIMMEL - PROMISING THE MOON is a story about the power of love and forgiveness. Marga (Hannelore Elsner) has never shown many feelings towards her daughter Sofia (Juliane Köhler). Now, however, she reveals fears, wounds and a deep longing for her long-dead husband Juris. She loses herself more and more in her forgetfulness and suddenly craves tenderness like a child. An unaccustomed situation for Sofia, who, after years of almost no contact with her mother, unexpectedly finds herself having to take care of her. A difficult situation, too: Marga can sometimes be brusque and sometimes funny; she lives now in the moment, now far away. As though yearning to be free of her memories, Marga begins relating stories of things that happened many years ago. Things that Sofia has never heard of. Prompted by a faint suspicion that the secrets of Marga’s past are important to understanding her own past, Sofia sets off for Riga with her mother at the spur of the moment. This is where Marga grew up and where she married Juris. But the more Sofia learns about her mother, the less certain she becomes about her own identity. As the past becomes clearer, it also emerges that what Marga had told her about their past together was nothing more than a story carved out of thin air... *Hans Steinbichler* was born in Solothurn, Switzerland, in 1969 and grew up in the Chiemgau in Bavaria. During his studies, he worked as a photographer and journalist. He began to study law after secondary school, but broke this off to take up a course of study at the Munich Hochschule für Fernsehen und Film instead. After shooting short films and biographical documentaries there, he presented his film “Hierankl” (2003) – for which he was able to enlist the participation of such great film personalities as Josef Bierbichler, Barbara Sukowa and Johanna Wokalek – as his graduation project, which won plaudits from the press and the public. For his first work he obtained the Advancement Prize of the Munich Filmfest for best direction as well as the Bavarian Film Award and the Adolf Grimme Award. His acting ensemble was also honored with the latter. In 2006 Hans Steinbichler directed “Winter Journey”, which again starred Josef Bierbichler, this time next to Hanna Schygulla and Sibel Kekilli. Bierbichler obtained the Lola for his achievement in this film; moreover, “Winter Journey” was also nominated for the best film. In 2007 he realized the film experiment “Autistic Disco” – a drama about social outcasts that Steinbichler developed jointly with acting students of an art academy. One year later he shot the drama “My Mother, My Bride and I” with Monica Bleibtreu, Matthias Brandt and Maria Popistasu, and obtained an Adolf Grimme Award as director for it. Also in 2008 Hans Steinbichler shot the short film “Fraktur”, his contribution to the compilation film Deutschland 09, with which 13 German directors expressed their thoughts on the state of the nation through short films. The world premiere was screened at the Berlinale in 2009. h4. HISTORICAL BACKGROUND The "Hitler-Stalin Pact" was signed on 23 August 1939. On the basis of this secret agreement, Latvia fell to the Soviet Union. On 17 June 1940 the Red Army occupied the Latvian territory, which was then incorporated into the Soviet Union against the will of the Latvian people. In June 1941 the German Wehrmacht marched into Latvia. Three years later there were major battles between the German and Soviet armies on Latvian territory, from which the USSR emerged victorious. During this war, Latvians were called up for military service by both occupation forces, and even forced to fight against one another. The following post-war years were marked by particularly cruel reprisals against the Latvian population. Nearly 120,000 Latvians were arrested and sent to Soviet concentration camps (GULAGs). 130,000 fled to the West from the Soviet occupation forces. On 25 March 1949, in a large-scale operation, nearly 43,000 people – mostly from rural areas – were transported from Latvia to Siberia. In the second half of the 1980s, the Latvians used the nascent liberalization of the Soviet Union to establish various political organizations such as, for example, the People's Front, the National Independent Movement and the Citizen's Congress. These organizations supported the restoration of Latvia's independence. On 23 August 1989 the three people's fronts built a live human chain of over several hundred kilometers from Tallinn via Riga to Vilnius (the Baltic Path) in order to draw attention to the crime of the Hitler-Stalin Pact that had been in effect for 50 years already. During the protest marches and demonstrations, the people sang forbidden songs, defiant rock versions of popular Latvian songs that became summer hits. The concept of the "Singing Revolution" was coined. A major step in the restoration of Latvia's independence was taken on 4 May 1990. On that day, the Supreme Council of the Latvian SSR passed a declaration in which the will to restore independence was expressed, and a period of transition to complete freedom laid down officially. Moscow was opposed to the Balts' strivings for independence, since they could bring down the entire Soviet Union. The revolution took its course in the night of 13 January 1991 with the bloody events in Vilnius, where the Soviet military occupied the Lithuanian Television. Thirteen peaceful demonstrators were killed. The population of Riga then erected barricades around its radio building and the Parliament in the old town of Riga to protect them from Soviet attacks. For entire days and nights, the people kept up their opposition and sang their freedom songs around bonfires in the icy cold. When the "old guard" revolted against Gorbatchev in Moscow in August 1991, barricades were again set up in Tallinn, Riga and Vilnius, and songs of solidarity sung. The peaceful revolution in the Baltics was threatened. But a few days later, the Moscow putsch collapsed. On 21 August 1991 the Latvian Parliament passed a resolution about the complete restoration of the Latvian state. The Soviet Union recognized the independence of Latvia in September 1991 along with the Western democracies. Source: Press Kit for Promising the Moon by Beta Cinema


Watch the introduction to the film below: