70 Years of Berliner Festspiele

Bremer Freiheit – Frau Geesche Gottfried

A bourgeois tragedy by Rainer Werner Fassbinder
1972 / Colour
adapted for television by R.W. Fassbinder
with the Ensemble des Bremer Theater

With his bourgeois tragedy “Bremer Freiheit – Frau Geesche Gottfried” Rainer Werner Fassbinder tells the story of a woman living in Bremen in the early 19th century who poisons a series of people who have been tormenting her beforehand.

The actor Uli Lommel in close-up. His lower half of the face is covered by his open newspaper. He is looking to the left.

Ulli Lommel in: Rainer Werner Fassbinder, “Bremen Freedom. Mrs Geesche Gottfried”, 1972. Film, colour, sound. Film still

© SR | Fassbinder Foundation | Verlag der Autoren GmbH

  • 86 min
  • German without subtitles

It was the time of his marriage to Ingrid Caven and long, relaxed weekends in Paris in 1971. Rainer Werner Fassbinder wrote his 16th stage play about the young woman Geesche who eliminates her tyrants one after another: first her husband, then her mother, her two children, her new fiancé etc. A total of 15 people die from drinking Geesche’s coffee in the space of 90 minutes. Geesche Gottfried was the last woman to be publicly beheaded, in Bremen in 1831. There is still a commemorative stone marking the event in Bremen Cathedral. The play marked the beginning of Fassbinder’s works about female emancipation. He directed it in Bremen the same year and in 1972 the production received his one and only invitation to Berlin for the Theatertreffen. In addition to the ensemble of stars with Carstensen, Hirschmüller, Raab, Lommel, Schygulla and Fassbinder himself, the design is particularly noteworthy: a few items of furniture and a video projection that frames the entire background of the stage: the gaping depths of a red sea, from which there is no escape.

“I wanted to spare you from having to carry on living the life you lead.”

Geesche Gottfried in: “Bremer Freiheit” (1971), R.W. Fassbinder

Director Rainer Werner Fassbinder
Design Kurt Raab
Camera Dietrich Lohmann, Hans Schugg, Peter Weyrich
With Margit Carstensen, Wolfgang Schenck, Wolfgang Kieling, Lilo Pempeit, Ulli Lommel, Hanna Schygulla, Kurt Raab, Fritz Schediwy, Rudolf Waldemar Brem, Walter Sedlmayr

© SR | Fassbinder Foundation | Verlag der Autoren