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Berlinale Bloggers 2024
A human aesthetic of resistance

„In Liebe, Eure Hilde”: Johannes Hegemann und Liv Lisa Fries mit Regisseur Andreas Dresen bei der Premiere
Foto (Detail): © Richard Hübner / Berlinale 2024

A celebration of life in dark times: Andreas Dresen’s “In Liebe, Eure Hilde” is a tender portrait of resistance fighter Hilde Coppi, a member of the “Rote Kapelle”.

By Philipp Bühler

Films about National Socialism follow a cold logic, not even this one can escape it entirely. On 12th September 1942, Hilde Coppi (brilliantly played by Liv Lisa Fries, who found fame through the TV series Babylon Berlin) is arrested. She gives birth to a child in the Barnimstrasse women's prison in Berlin. She’s allowed to breast-feed, and her trial is postponed a little as a result. But that’s not much help, and a subsequent clemency plea is similarly ineffective. Hilde Coppi is executed on 21st July 1943 for “preparing to commit high treason coupled with aiding the enemy, spying and broadcasting crimes”, as one of around 50 men and women in the “Rote Kapelle” (Red Orchestra) resistance group.

A silent hero, typical of Dresen

Is it any wonder that Andreas Dresen goes to great lengths to break down the gruesome linearity of this destiny? It all starts with the German film director portraying Hilde Coppi as rather a silent resistance fighter. Quite unlike the glamorous couple Harro and Libertas Schulze-Boysen, who also belonged to the Rote Kapelle – a defamatory exonym coined by the Gestapo for an extremely heterogeneous group. Dresen (who enjoyed success at the 2022 Berlinale with Rabiye Kurnaz gegen George W. Bush) loves the quiet heroes and battles for their right to a story of their own.

The human power of resistance

In Liebe, Eure Hilde (From Hilde, with Love) contrasts the horrific events experienced by the protagonist in custody with memories from her earlier life: swimming trips with members of the polyamorous group from Berlin on hot summer days, the first time she met  Hans Coppi, whom she later married. The order of these flashbacks follows a sort of dream logic, sometimes it seems to go backwards. Even the actual resistance – Hilde listens to Radio Moscow and relays signs of life from German prisoners of war to their families – is anchored in this celebration of an unfettered, disjointed and directionless life. Hilde, Hans and the others didn’t have a plan like the subsequent Hitler assassins of July 20th. Dresen doesn’t give much away in terms of their motives. Did they realise the danger they were exposed to? Was their resistance worthwhile, worth the terrible sacrifice?

In this age of “Never again!”, Dresen and his long-standing scriptwriter Laila Stieler leave it up to us to decide. That’s the strength of his film – which is not easy to digest. He isn’t urging us to remember, he’s focusing on the very act of remembering. Hilde Coppi has the power to resist – thanks to her love of life, of her husband and child, and an unchallenged humanity. This message is a political one, and it’s more important than ever.