Helma Sanders-Brahms: Under the Pavement Lies the Strand

Under the Pavement Lies the Strand (Unter dem Pflaster ist der Strand), Helma Sanders-Brahms, 99', FRG, 14.1.1975, Original German version

In the Arsenal archive it says: "When theatre actors Grischa and Heinrich are accidentally locked in, they spend the night together and end up becoming a couple. However, the daily routine of a relationship slowly eats away at them, and then Grischa is pregnant. Sanders-Brahms emphatically explores what the supposedly revolutionary 1960s brought in terms of change." Only a note by the director reveals how strongly she questions her own method: "I wrote scripts and drew storyboards up to now, played the scenes in my head – and when I came to the set with these thoughts, they seemed wrong to me. Now the film has started, without a script, without a storyboard. And it’s moving along like a goose feather that two children are holding up in the air with their breath, the story changing constantly depending on the push it’s getting." (Abridged by the ed.) 

Helma Sanders-Brahms (1940–2014) was a German writer, director, scriptwriter of documentary and feature films, many of which are autobiographical. Her early work is considered influential for the 1968 and the women’s movements. Sanders-Brahms’ feature films were screened in Berlin and Cannes, and she was honoured with the German Film Award. For Das kleine Fernsehspiel, she made the feature films Violence (1971) and Under the Pavement Lies the Strand (1975). Shirin’s Wedding (1976) and Heinrich (1977) featured in the Berlinale Forum.