“Margarethe von Trotta’s knack for observing the big picture through the more primal politics of personal relationships works best when she focuses on the latter. In particular, the subtle and drastic power games playe...展开d by intimate family members bring out her best instincts, especially when the main players are women, as is the case in her two best films, Die bleierne Zeit/Marianne and Juliane (1981) and Heller Wahn/Shear Madness (1983). Made for German TV, Die andere Frau revisits those strengths, though in a more conventional formula.
“Ivonne Schumacher (Barbara Auer), formerly of the GDR, has made good in the West. Her husband, Stefan (Stefan Kurt), an erstwhile Stasi agent, is now a good capitalist earning a fortune with his "investments." Ivonne has no interest in examining the past until she receives a letter from an unknown woman. Now in prison, Vera Glaubitz (Barbara Sukowa) claims she had an affair with Stefan, whom she knew as Peter, for years. A "Stasi Romeo," he seduced her in order to get her to steal state secrets at the office where she worked. Ivonne visits Vera in jail, and their relationship goes through many phases of hostility, hysteria, bonding, and despair as Vera recounts her story through flashbacks and Ivonne ponders her marriage. Not much to think about there: it stinks. The biggest mystery in the film isn’t where Stefan gets his money but why two attractive and intelligent women would fall for such a creep. In German with English subtitles. (90 minutes)”