Let's start with a miracle. They are still rather rare on German television. But Nina Gummich is one. She was chosen, it probably has to be called, to be Alice Schwarzer in "Alice".
The young Alice Schwarzer, between departure and "Emma", between the French beach summer of 1964 and the reactions to the first issue of Schwarzer's feminist magazine in 1977.
The casting dragged on quite a bit. Alice Schwarzer had extensive rights granted to the film biography written by Daniel Nocke and Silke Steiner and directed by Nicole Weegmann. The occupation of itself, so to speak, was part of it.
There were actresses who were more like her, she said. Nina Gummich - 31, born in Leipzig, child of a family of actors, became known as a fearless doctor in the third season of "Charité" and through her participation in Dietrich Brüggemann's anti-corona measures video project
Because she prepared herself almost scientifically. studied black. Read her books, seen the video material, which is not exactly small, met her. She made tables, learned intonations, reactions, laughing, raising her right eyebrow, wiping away with the back of her hand.
Nina Gummich is Alice Schwarzer. She walks like her, she talks like her, her lips do what Alice Schwarzer's lips do when she speaks. Anyone who has seen her in "Charité" or as a prostitute Erna in the third season of "Babylon Berlin", who knows her as pathologist Theresa Wolff in "Thüringen-Krimi" can guess the work, the energy it cost her, within half a year of the unconditional desire to transform them, maybe not even to become completely different.
The astonishment that overtakes you over and over again in the face of Nina Gummich's game during the three hours that "Alice" tells in two parts about the fabulous world of the early women's movement in Germany (and France), of which Alice is the tireless motor, carries you over everything away.
How she pulls a scene out of nowhere in a flash, plays out what one would not have believed as a later-born, as a belated contemporary and witness of the oh so gruff monomaniac Alice Schwarzer, melancholy and humor, sharpness and tenderness, fragility, touch of the Attacks on her person and her position.
How her Alice ages in the scarcely one and a half decades of narrative time in this cinematic developmental novel, movements become heavier, her entire physicality changes. Nina Gummich shows how human appropriation can succeed, what acting can do as art. Nina Gummich should be showered with television awards.
"Alice" rather not. However, this has nothing to do with Nicole Weegmann's two-piece set. But with its genre.
Alice is actually a fine film. Everything is as it should be in biopics, in costume dramas, in contemporary history films. We follow a character that is almost archetypal for an era. An epoch is made visible on and around it. In the case of "Alice" that of - compared to the French - German feminism, which began at a later date.
The stages of Alice Schwarzer's life appear, her self-determination, her drivenness that grew out of private events, her encounters with Jean-Paul Sartre, with Simone de Beauvoir, her fight with Henri Nannen and the cover of the 1974 edition of "We have aborted". , her rejection as the first female reporter in “Spiegel”.
Her duel with the anti-feminist Esther Vilar, the story of her bestseller “The Little Difference” and the inner-feminist struggles to found Emma. The more or less voluntary transformation of herself into a completely media, public personality.
“Alice” does what a biopic should and can, takes you back to a distant time that is actually just around the corner. The fact that everything is preceded by a warning that the language in "Alice" could have a discriminatory effect today because the film is set in the 1960s and 1970s and that's how people spoke back then is as superfluous as it is significant and helpful because it underlines the distance and the route makes clear what our world has done in the relationship between the sexes, in the sensitivity in dealing with each other.
The pictures are fabulous. The cars look fabulous. Documentary material is interposed. Scenes from the street demonstrations in France, the demos, excerpts from street surveys among women in Germany.
That's how it should be. This is how contemporary history television works. This brings to life what no one tells anymore, except in books (but who of the penultimate and last generation reads them). This is how history becomes, of which a generation that thinks increasingly ahistorically and feels like it is the last, has no idea and hardly notices it: the conditions and successes of the struggle for equality, for gender rights, for freedom from the shackles of an incredibly male-dominated society, even compared to today's.
And yet what you see (apart from Nina Gummich) gets on your nerves more and more. Because Alice Schwarzer's narrative model works wonderfully for private life, but not for politics or society. Because you can see the staged nature of the reenacted political debates.
Especially in mass scenes where ideological battles are fought. Because one recognizes the intention and is upset. Because sometimes people seem like talking furniture. That looks like school radio. Like educational television. As dead as not a second in Nina Gummich's game is.
"Alice". ARD, November 30, 8:15 p.m.