(1991 TV Movie)


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  • Hungary, autumn of 1989. When biologist Maria Wagner from East Berlin crosses the Hungarian border and feels Western soil under her feet for the first time in her life, her only desire is to travel to Paris as quickly as possible to see her daughter Theresa again after 15 years of separation. But their reunion in Paris is not as happy as Maria had hoped. Theresa, who has come to meet her mother at the Gare de l'Est, appears standoffish and not interested in this woman who has so suddenly entered her life. Gradually, Maria learns that her daughter has never got over the fact that, when she was 11 years old, her mother had entrusted her to the care of a stranger, French diplomat Gustave Durieux, who had taken her to Paris with him. Theresa has never forgotten that her mother had pretended Gustave would merely take her on a holiday to Paris and that she had withheld from her the fact that it would be a journey of no return. The young woman had never forgiven her mother for sending her to a strange country as well as putting her into the hands of a strange man. And so, Theresa had banished her mother from her very thoughts. However, she had never learnt to trust anyone else. This explains the close relationship between Theresa, who is on the way to becoming a successful paintress, and Serge, an architect 20 years older than her. Theresa clings to Serge full of fear of being abandoned yet again. Maria quickly becomes friendly with Serge, with whom she shares a great love for Theresa. But the friendship between Serge and Maria makes Theresa rage with jealousy. However, Maria refuses to give up hope. She fights for her daughter's love and succeeds in becoming closer to her through their common interest in Theresa's unusual paintings. But then Gustave Durieux arrives in Paris to see Maria. And Theresa learns that Maria and Gustave had been lovers in East Berlin fifteen years ago. Theresa again begins to suspect that her mother is not to be trusted. To her, Gustave, the man with whom she had come to Paris as a girl and in whose care she had grown up, symbolizes a past full of fear, suspicion and hatred. A bitter quarrel ensues, which Maria ends by moving into a hotel. Theresa destroys all the pictures Maria had become fond of. She is hurt and desperate. At last she asks Gustave to tell her what happened 15 years ago. And finally she learns the truth - a truth that fills her with dismay: Maria had been in love with Gustave, the French diplomat. But as her husband, Theresa's father, had been in prison because of his political views, and as Maria herself had felt it to be her duty to stay in the GDR and fight for freedom and democracy, she had to repress her love for Gustave and remain in her country. However, she had worried that her daughter Theresa might have to pay for her mother's political views, and so, with a heavy heart, she had decided to entrust Theresa to Gustave's care when he had been transferred to Paris. She had always remained in touch with Gustave and always known how her daughter was. She had never given up hope that they would be reunited one day... When Theresa hears this, she realizes that she has been wronging her mother all these years. After a few days which the young woman needs to recover, she tries to get in touch with her mother to ask her to build up a new life together. But meanwhile, the Berlin Wall has fallen. Maria wants to return to her country. There is a lot for her to do there. She has written a farewell letter to her daughter that is full of love, without bitterness. When Theresa, with tears in her eyes, reads this letter, she is at last able to say the word that she had suppressed all those years: the word "mother".


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