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Madchen in Uniform : BFI Film Classics - Barbara Mennel

Madchen in Uniform

By: Barbara Mennel

Paperback | 30 May 2024

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Leontine Sagan's M¤dchen in Uniform (1931) is a groundbreaking German film that showcases womenâs agency and desire behind and in front of the camera.

Adapted from Christa Winsloe's lesbian play, the story follows Manuela, an orphan in a boarding school for impoverished Prussian nobility. When she declares her love with her female teacher, the oppressive principal punishes her, leading to a desperate suicide attempt.

Barbara Mennel's compelling study firmly establishes M¤dchen in the Weimar cinema canon. Mennel contextualises the film in 1920s theories of sexuality and the conventions of modernist cinema. She contrasts its international success to the extensive censorship battles that surrounded it. The filmâs unique transnational and fragmented history results from the exile of many of its makers during the Nazi regime. By attending to the many remakes throughout the 20th and 21st century, Mennel underscores the film's timeless impact that continues to resonate with contemporary audiences.

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