The Woman and the Stranger

(Die Frau und der Fremde)

GDR, 1984, 97 min, color
In German; English subtitles
Set Design
Costume Design
Music (Score)
Production Company


Karl and Richard, two German soldiers captured by the Russians in World War I, become very close friends—so close that Richard shares intimate stories about his wife, Anna. Through these stories, Karl falls in love with her in his thoughts. When Karl escapes and goes to Richard's home, Anna knows he is not her husband. But although she tries to resist Karl’s love, she feels a growing response to him. Then, one day, Richard returns…


This beautifully shot and crafted kammerspiel is based on the novel Karl and Anna by Leonhard Frank. It was the only East German film to ever win the Golden Bear at the West German Berlin International Film Festival.


Shortly after this success, however, the film’s distribution was suspended due to problems with the literary rights. After over 20 years, the film is now finally available again.


2010 PLAY IT AGAIN...! Retrospective, Berlin International Film Festival

Golden Bear, Berlin International Film Festival

Press comments

“Kathrin Waligura’s performance is of outstanding quality.”


“Carefully selected tableaus in this film, which oscillate between black and white and color, lie somewhere between a restrained Tarkovsky and a similarly restrained young Werner Herzog. Two love stories, gently and cautiously put into words and images.”
Der Tagesspiegel


“A roller coaster of emotions: desire, delusion, devotion, love, pain and despair.”
epd filmdienst


“The sections shot in black and white evoke film historic associations—to Comrades of 1918 or All Quiet on the Western Front—but in no way compromise its contemporary relevance.”
Volksstimme, Austria


Buy the DVD
DVD Bonus Features:
  • Turn Subtitles On/Off
  • Biographies & Filmographies
  • Film Interview with Rainer Simon on The Woman and the Stranger (2000)

Shibboleth login