Something of a disappointment after The German Sisters. Von Trotta's theme - the obsessive interdependence of two women, one (Schygulla) assured and outgoing, the other (Winkler) timid and reclusive - resembles her earlier chamber piece, Sisters, or the Balance of Happiness. But here her more ambitious scope opens up glaring weaknesses in the minor roles, particularly the husbands, and the story rambles furiously, with little added by location shooting in Cairo and Provence. And a heavy pall of Teutonic neuroticism sits over the whole thing, stemming not from Hitler's legacy as in The German Sisters, but more diffusely from the German Romantics, whose suicides and madmen and women exercise a highly ambivalent fascination. But von Trotta does extract excellent performances from her two leads, making this a delicate and penetrating study of (platonic) love between women.