Mother Superior

Mother Superior

Austria | 2022 | 71 min. | Marie Alice Wolfszahn

A gothic occult thriller set in 1970s Austria, where the specter of World War II haunts every aspect of life, as a woman born under sinister circumstances takes a job as an eccentric Baroness’ nurse to solve the mystery of her own parentage.

Set in 1975, Mother Superior harkens back to Hammer's gothic horror films of the '60s. In this thriller written and directed by Marie Alice Wolfszahn, Sigrun (Isabella Händler) is hired as an in-home nurse for elderly Baroness Heidenreich (Inge Maux). Formerly the director of a Nazi maternity ward, the Baroness now resides in a crumbling rural mansion. She's been through a number of nurses, but Sigrun stays on, hoping to solve the mystery of her own parentage. Baroness Heidenreich may have knowledge about her birth parents and why she was put up for adoption. As she begins to uncover documents and overhear private conversations, Sigrun discovers more than she bargained for, including insights into Nazi eugenics practices, Aryan occult ideologies, and dangerous folk magic. While Wolfszahn's screenplay takes on dark history, cinematographer Gabriel Krajanek contrasts the gothic setting of the mansion with sunlit grounds and a lush surrounding forest. In addition to the skillful camera work, the sound design is full of texture, pulling us fully into the crisp 70 minutes of runtime. The theme of power used for diabolical ends is prevalent through Mother Superior, a tense and foreboding film that subverts common narratives about gender and fascism, reminding us that women and men alike can uphold myths for power.

Colleen O'Holleran

  • Original Language Title: Mater Superior
  • Director: Marie Alice Wolfszahn
  • Principal Cast: Isabella Händler, Inga Maux, Jochen Nickel, Tim Werths
  • Country: Austria
  • Year: 2022
  • Running Time: 71 min.
  • Producer: Judith Doppler, Kurt Mayer
  • Screenplay: Marie Alice Wolfszahn
  • Cinematographers: Gabriel Krajanek
  • Editors: Georg Eggenfellner
  • Music: July Skone, Stefan Voglsinger
  • Website: Official Film Website
  • Awards: Brooklyn Horror Film Festival 2022 (Best Feature Film, Director)
  • Filmography: Debut Feature Film
  • Language: German
  • Has Subtitles: Yes
  • International Sales: Black Mandala

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