DU BIST MEINE MUTTER Deutsche sprache/english subtitles

Joop Admiraal hat (…) Wirklichkeit zu Kunst gemacht”, hieß es im Bericht der Preis-Jury, als er für “Du bist meine Mutter” die höchste niederländische Auszeichnung für Schauspieler, den “Louis d’Or”, erhielt. In Deutschland wurde er u.a. mit dem begehrten Adolf-Grimme-Preis für die Filmfassung des Stücks ausgezeichnet. Nach dem überwältigenden Erfolg, den Joop Admiraal als Autor und Darsteller im November 1981 am Amsterdamer “Het Werkteater” mit seinem Stück erzielt hatte, wurde es auch an zahlreichen deutschsprachigen Bühnen sehr erfolgreich in Szene gesetzt. Buch: Joop Admiral Deutsch von Monika The, Theaterregie Jan Ritsema, Regie: Horst Königstein Camera: Klaus Brix



Published: January 2, 1986, New York Times

In ”You Are My Mother,” on WNET/Channel 13 at 11 this evening, a 45-year-old Dutchman spends a Sunday visiting his 80-year-old mother in a home for the aged. He is an actor with Amsterdam’s Het Werktater. She is an invalid shrouded in senility, drifting between past and present. What makes this delicate autobiographical exploration of family relationships extraordinary, if not downright unsettling, is that both roles are played by Joop Admiraal.
Mr. Admiraal is indeed a Dutch actor, and ”You Are My Mother” is an adaptation of his 1982 play, directed by Jan Ritsema, that won several awards. In this television film, he is first encountered in his small, tidy and light-filled Amsterdam apartment. He apparently lives alone. Among his books is an analysis of Laurel and Hardy. On the phonograph, Peggy Lee sings ”Me and My Shadow.” He smokes an odd-looking cigarette before leaving.
The trip to Delft, where his mother lives, is long but he likes to watch people and things even as train-station loudspeakers warn of pickpockets and bag-snatchers. At the home in Delft, Mr. Admiraal enters his mother’s room, sits on the bed and, as the camera watches closely, begins turning himself into his mother. His voice becomes slightly more prim and shrill, his face appears more pinched. At the same time, he begins changing his clothes. By the time mother and son are ready to take their weekly walk in the garden, Mr. Admiraal has become a frail old woman squinting through eyeglasses, leaning on the arm of her invisible son, her hands trembling.
Sitting outdoors, the woman finds a few moments of pleasure over a chocolate drink, but for the most part she is uneasy and troubled. Switching easily from one voice to the other, Mr. Admiraal maintains a conversation that trembles with memories, pleasant and unpleasant. She is the woman who regrets that she was never able to satisfy her husband sexually. He is the son who would have preferred to have been born a girl. ”Life is so tough,” she cries at one point. ”Would you like a little tart?” he asks gently.
Near the end of the subtitled film, shot on Dutch locations, the scene shifts to a theater stage on which Mr. Admiraal is performing his play as stagehands pass in the background. He reveals that the dialogue he gave to the character of his mother was taken from things she actually said. He thanks her for her contribution to the play. ”Most people like it,” he says, ”and I am happy.”
As he should be, for he has composed a strangely haunting portrait of ordinary life and lives, as poignant as his mother’s observation that ”we’re just leaves on a tree that fall and pass away.” Presented as a part of WNET’s ”Channel Crossings” series, the TV film, done in a German translation, is directed by Horst Konigstein for NDR Television.

(Born: Het Werkteater/NDR- Du Bist Meine Mutter-1983)
1 hour 13 min.