No Mercy, No Future

  • Film
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Based on a letter received from a schizophrenic woman, this is not about treatment or clinical causes, but - as Sanders-Brahms puts it - about 'madness from within'. Called Veronika, the woman trudges through Berlin, lank-haired and grey faced, giving herself to society's castoffs (the old, the disabled, the immigrants) in the hope of finding Christ. Elisabeth Stepanek's performance is faultless, her heavy yet mobile face always interesting. But it's questionable whether the film is successful at exploring emotions 'from within'. The hallucinations are mere effects, the stroboscopic sequence is physically unbearable; while the sex and suicide attempts are more curious than moving. But detachment is continually challenged by urgent evidence of the madness on the outside: the tawdriness of Berlin (the paradigmatic schizoid city), the radio news reports, the shadowy figures of the girl's crabby parents living in uncomfortable, rococo splendour. If it's miserable being mad, it's pretty tough being ordinary.

Release details

Duration: 108 mins

Cast and crew

Director: Helma Sanders-Brahms
Screenwriter: Helma Sanders-Brahms, Rita G
Cast: Elisabeth Stepanek
Hubertus von Weyrauch
Irmgard Mellinger
Nguyen Chi Danh
Erich Koitzsch-Koltzack
Curt Curtini
Carola Regnier
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