Jutta Brückner: The Hunger Years – In a Land of Plenty

The Hunger Years – In a Land of Plenty (Hungerjahre – in einem reichen Land), Jutta Brückner, 113’, FRG, ZDF 27.3.1980, Original German version

“1953. Ursula Scheurer is 13 years old, the Federal Republic of Germany 4.” In 1979, in her third feature film, Jutta Brückner settles an old score of her supressed adolescence. In her coming-of-age drama of the early years of the economic miracle, she lets the girl Ursula be stifled to the point of silence by the narrow-mindedness, guilt and fear of her parents and the traumatised post-war West German society. The film ends with a symbolic suicide, accompanied by the words: “If you want to accomplish something, you must first execute something: yourself.” One viewer writes: “I cannot put into words everything that this film triggered in me. I would just like to summarise: You described your own development and mine at the same time.”

Jutta Brückner (*1941) is a German author and film director. She wrote screenplays for Volker Schlöndorff and Ula Stöckl before making the essayistic compilation film Do Right and Fear No One (1975) for Das kleine Fernsehspiel. Her films have received numerous awards and were regularly screened in the Berlinale Forum, including the feature films Ein ganz und gar verwahrlostes Mädchen (1977), The Hunger Years – In a Land of Plenty (1980) and Kolossale Liebe (1984/1992), all of which were made in collaboration with Das kleine Fernsehspiel. In addition to her films, Brückner wrote film theory texts, radio plays, essays and did video performances.