Ursula oder das unwerte Leben



The title is like a blow to the head: unworthy life? The title of the breakthrough work by Mertens & Marti refers to a paper published by Karl Binding (a legal scholar) and Alfred Hoche (a psychiatrist) in 1920: “The approval of the destruction of unworthy life. Its measure and form”, which served as an ideological basis for the Nazi ideologues and their euthanasia programmes. Ursula Bodmer: blind and mute and mentally handicapped. According to this paper, she would have been worth exterminating. But even in Switzerland, she had a hard time as a child, as initial examinations concluded that she had no learning abilities whatsoever. As a result she was not considered worthy of financial support and should have been left to vegetate. But her foster mother Anita Utzinger believed that Ursula could develop; the rhythmic therapist and special needs teacher Mimi Scheiblauer found a way. Mertens & Marti accompanied her journey. The result is a film that employs a strict formal approach, reduced to the bare necessities, to show that Scheiblauer’s work is stage work, a creative process that can heal. (om)



Switzerland 1966
88 Min. bw. 35mm. D/Dialekt/e

Director: Reni Mertens, Walter Marti

Script: Reni Mertens, Walter Marti

Camera: Rolf Lyssy, Hans-Peter Roth

Editor: Rolf Lyssy

Cast: Ursula Bodmer, Mimi Scheiblauer, Anita Utzinger, Helene Weigel


Resonance: Embracing the future with Reni Mertens and Walter Marti
Bildrausch 2019