Lili Marleen

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Lili Marleen is a dramatic West German musical romance that was written by Lale Andersen, Manfred Purzer, Joshua Sinclair and Rainer Werner Fassbinder, who also directed. The cast includes Hanna Schygulla as Willie, Giancarlo Giannini as Robert, Mel Ferrer as David Mendelsson, Karl-Heinz von Hassel as Henkel, Erik Schumann as von Strehlow, Hark Bohm as Taschner and Gottfried John as Aaron.

The story concerns a forbidden love during the Third Reich period between Willie (played by Hanna Schygulla), a German singer, and Robert Mendelsson (played by Giancarlo Giannini), a Swiss composer who sought assistance from an underground faction of steadfast German Jews.

Willie is a singer whose public life manages to parallel the rise and ultimate fall of the Nazis. The story begins in 1938. Though the average person is fairly well-informed about the Germans and the dangerous Nazi party, Willie is not especially aware of the significance of what exactly is going on. This could be because she spends most of her time singing in a cabaret where everyone wants to escape the ruination of the world. Thus, she is largely isolated from the sordid societal goings on in Germany, making her nearly completely unaware.

Willie falls hard for one of the illustrious and notorious leaders of the anti-Nazis called Giancarlo Giannini. Despite learning this, she is largely unaffected and does not feel threatened or endangered in any way. She does support him but never really endangers herself in any way.

She records her version of the song "Lili Marleen" that is regularly played on the radio as a big hit. She becomes strongly identified with the song. Unfortunately, the song has also been associated with Nazism and the entire war effort. All this propels her into a national sensation but also reserves her private life as a reluctant hero of the resistance. However, she seems to have the ability to balance her private and public life.

| 1981 | 2 hr | 7.1/10
Hanna Schygulla, Giancarlo Giannini, Mel Ferrer, Karl-Heinz von Hassel
Rainer Werner Fassbinder
Produced By
Luggi Waldleitner, Enzo Peri, Horst Wendlandt
Lili Marleen
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