Films & Schedules

  • My Mother, My Bride and I
    Die Zweite Frau

  • Hans Steinbichler

95 minutes

Production Company:
sperl+schott film gmbh/EOS Entertainment
Gabriela Sperl
Robert Seethaler
Production Designer:
Andrea Douglas
Christian Rein
Christian Lonk
Marc Parisotto
Antek Lazarkiewicz
Principal Cast: Monica Bleibtreu, Matthias Brandt, Maria Popistasu

International Sales Agent:
Beta Cinema

Saturday September 0608:45PM VARSITY 2 Add Film to MyTIFF Filmlist
Monday September 0809:45AM SCOTIABANK THEATRE 4 Add Film to MyTIFF Filmlist
Saturday September 1307:45PM AMC 7 Add Film to MyTIFF Filmlist

If you crave a good love story, get thee to Bavaria. In My Mother, My Bride and I, director Hans Steinbichler spins a tale so simple and so rooted in Bavarian culture that it seems to have sprung straight from that region's soil. And yet its recipe of desire, conflict and sweet surprise is entirely universal.

The story begins with the plain fact that forty-one-year-old Erwin (Matthias Brandt) still lives with his mother (Monica Bleibtreu). Well into his adulthood, he and Mama have fallen into classic co-dependence. She feeds him and tolerates his quirks, while he gives her a reason to live; together they run a small gas station in the middle of nowhere. Erwin has his mother and his passion for fish, but clearly there is something missing.

And so off to Romania he goes. As for much of Western Europe, Bucharest can offer what Bavaria needs – in Erwin's case, a wife. The sequence in which he interviews prospects in a sterile hotel restaurant is both heartbreaking and hilarious. It is a godsend when he finds Irina. Played by Maria Popistasu, she can be forthright, sexy and mischievous; in a word, irresistible. Erwin suggests a trial engagement, and brings Irina back home to Mother. Mother is not impressed.

This set-up is the stuff of both grand tragedy and low sitcom, but Steinbichler knows how to strike new notes with familiar material. The two women begin, as expected, in opposite corners, but the story throws surprising curves, always with a wry sense of humour and a sharp understanding of human nature.

Although it springs from deepest Bavaria, My Mother, My Bride and I carries the hallmarks of the best American independent films: engaging storytelling that features unusual characters sketched in vibrant detail. When this tale takes one or two surprising turns on the way to its conclusion, they are all the more satisfying thanks to the care it has taken to craft such rich, lovely characters.

Cameron Bailey

Hans SteinbichlerHans Steinbichler learned photography from his father before pursuing a law degree and subsequently studying at the University of Television and Film Munich (HFF). He has directed several short films and his features include Hierankl (03), Winter Journey (06) and My Mother, My Bride and I (08).

Cadillac People's Choice Award