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German with Enlish subtitles


Seven Women - Their Experiences with Cancer

A documentary by Katharina Gruber & Gesine Meerwein
In cooperation with ARGUS e.V.:
Camera, sound, editing: Jutta Hühner, Petra Enderlin, Jürgen Baumeister
Freiburg /Germany 1999 VHS (NTSC, PAL), Beta (PAL, NTSC), Master edit: DVC pro, 108 min

In many women's lives there is a growing need to create a new culture in dealing with illness, dying and death. The video-project »LEBENSKÜNSTLERINNEN« considers itself part of this process. This video-documentation is also based on the personal experiences of the filmmakers themselves - one getting cancer herself, and the other accompanying the process of illness and dying. During its more than 2 years of realization the project has received great interest as well as financial support from women all over Germany. The film shows seven women facing the camera. They live in different cities, work as medical assistant, musician or therapist, and live with a woman or a man or without a partner. All of them are or were living with cancer. In their interviews the women describe their struggles with the orthodox medical apparatus for the right to have a say in their own treatment. They also talk about their experiences with alternative approaches, about their newly- discovered strengths and about the change in the way they perceive their bodies. They talk about the vital support they received from their friends, and about the pressure to recover that was put on them by both, orthodox and alternative medicine. They voice their experiences of living with only one breast and of facing the possibility of dying. The fact, that one of the filmmakers is facing the camera as well, is an unusual experiment. The women present themselves in a very open and up-front way. The differences of their experiences, decisions and personalities speak for themselves, uncriticized and uncommented.

Lebenskünstlerinnen e.V.
Frauen in Kultur, Film und Bildung
Faulerstr. 20
79098 Freiburg

Phone: 0049 /761 / 33676



The film breaks a taboo. For that it is brave. But its bravery doesn't come along with the usual dismay. It comes with a certain sobriety - and every now and then it drifts off into cheerfulness and wit.translated from the daily newspaper Badische Zeitung, 7.5.99 It [the film] has just one objective, that is to let the women speak for themselves, and it has to be highly appreciated that it presents neither a matter-of-fact account of operation techniques and chemotherapy, nor does it make the suffering the focus of attention, thus avoiding to turn its protagonists into heroines of survival. In contrast to many a related medical view, the film's view of its protagonists is in the best sense of the word a holistic one.
translated from the film magazine film-dienst 18/99

Dokumentarfilmfest Kassel 1999
Lesbenfilmfestival Berlin 1999
Baden-Württemberg. Filmschau 1999
"Frameline" San Francisco 2000
"Cineffable" Paris 2000