At a German boarding school, during the interwar period, military daughters are taught to become mothers to a future generation of soldiers. Newly arrived, the young Manuela (Hertha Thiele) develops a sudden crush on her teacher, upsetting the institution’s patriarchal structure. Inspired by a theatrical play and merging influences ranging from German expressionism to Soviet montage, Leontine Sagan’s film casts a critical gaze at the foundations of fascism which, a few years later, would rise to power in the country. (C. M.)
Theater director, actor, and filmmaker, Leontine Sagan (1889-1974) spent her childhood and adolescence between Vienna and Johannesburg, moving to Germany in her early adulthood, where she began her acting career. Of Jewish origin, Sagan went into exile in London during the Nazi regime, founding the refugee theater "The Lantern", which played an important role in the anti-fascist struggle in the United Kingdom. Known for favoring collaborative work with other women, "Girls in Uniform", an all-female cast fiction film, is her first and most notorious film as a director.