Es kommt der Tag (The Day Will Come) (2009)
Director: Susan Schneider.
Starring: Katharina Schüttler (Alice Rybka), Iris Berben (Jutta Beermann alias Judith Muller), Jacques Frantz (Jean-Marc Muller), Sebastian Urzendowsky (Lucas Muller), Sophie-Charlotte Kaissling-Dopff (Francine Muller), Andrée Damant (Claire Muller), Jean-Claude Arnaud (Robert Muller), Maxim Mehmet (Mo), Xavier Boulanger (Winzer).
daughter meets her mother and is disturbed about mom's past with the terrorist group Red Army Faction (RAF), but mom has no regrets about it
Spoiler Warning: below is a summary of the entire film.
A daughter is disturbed about her mother's past.
Judith Muller arrives at her work. The staff wants to use a picture that they have showing Judith demonstrating against GM in Alsace. She doesn't want them to use her face. She leaves her job and climbs into a truck that has the words Muller & Fils wines on it. Sitting there she lets go a big sigh. She starts driving. She goes to a wine distillery. Judith tastes the wine to make sure its good.
Alice drives her car to an isolated area off the highway. There she rendezvous with a guy who came in his own car. They have sex in Jutta's car. After the sex she has the guy put a package in his car trunk. While he is doing this, from her trunk she takes out his bag and light jacket and puts them on the road behind her car. She then drives off. The guy thinks she will stop for him, but she just drives right past him and keeps on going. He shouts for her to stop and then yells: "Have you gone nuts?"
Judith drives her wine truck away from a customer. She goes home with some groceries. Her daughter Francine is playing her music very loudly. Judith runs upstairs and turns down the music. Her daughter says: "You are a terrorist!" This takes Judith aback a bit. She asks what her daughter means by that and the daughter says it means that mom is a pest.
Flashback. Alice Beermann goes into a cafe. Some guys are having a very noisy dispute about a drinking game. Alice comes over and says she will take the place of one of the players of the drinking game.
After the game Alice passionately kisses one of the guys, named Lucas, outside the cafe. She then suddenly stops and walks over to her car. Just like before, the guy is shocked that she just takes off without saying anything. She drives to a place where she sees a big sign for Muller & Fils. She turns left following the arrows on the sign. She parks about a block away from a house. Alice starts walking toward the house. She watches as she sees a man go into the house. She slowly walks to the door and overhears part of the conversation inside. This is the house where Judith Muller lives. She is having dinner with her husband Jean-Marc Muller and her daughter Francine.
Alice walks away from the house without saying anything. She gets back in her car and drives away. She turns right onto a dirt path and stops her car. She looks at a tree ahead of her and drives her car right into it.
After dinner Judith and her husband are back working on paper work for their business. Jean-Marc says they shouldn't have bought the land. He is upset because he is going to have to asks his parents for money at this stage in his life.
Alice comes driving up to the house. Jean-Marc goes out to see who it is. Alice says that she has had a car accident. She then says an animal jumped in front of her car and she was wondering if she could rent a room. Jean-Marc says they don't have any rooms. He goes into the house to talk with Judith. Judith curses this Bed & Breakfast business they started and now want to quit. Jean-Marc grabs a key and takes Alice over to her room. After he leaves the room, she takes out some money from a wallet and then hides the wallet. The place has a nice kitchen with a good-sized table.
Alice sits down at the table. She has to fill out a form for the owners of the place. She looks through her name of her friends stored in the telephone and chooses one of the names to use as a false name on the form. She has spread out on her bed many newspaper and magazine articles. The next time we see her, she is standing in Judith's bedroom, starting intently at the sleeping Judith.
Alice gets up in the morning and goes over to her car. She examines the damage done to the front of her car. Just then the fellow she just rudely walked away from after the drinking game, namely Lucas, comes riding up on a motor scooter. She is shocked to see him here. He looks at the damage to her car and asks her if she had one too many drinks at the cafe? She says she dodged an animal. Now she asks if he knows where her left headlight is? Lucas says that his mother Judith probably is trying to fix the headlight. She tells Lucas that her name is Mia.
Mia comes into the main house and goes into the kitchen. Jean-Marc tells her to sit down at the table with his daughter Francine and have some coffee. Francine looks perturbed and asks her father: "Who is she?" Mia. Dad is angry with his daughter because she is taking forever to get dressed for school. Mia offers to take Francine to school and Francine accepts. Mia asks the father if she can stay for another day and he says no because they really only rent out rooms in the summer.
As Judith returns home, she catches her husband as he is about to drive off. She asks if their visitor told her husband what she was doing here? No. He says she can ask Mia herself, that is, after she returns from playing taxi cab driver for their daughter.
Judith comes into the house, looks at the form and goes to look up Mia Francke of Essen on-line. She finds a picture of Mia Francke but it looks nothing like their guest Mia. Now Judith grabs the keys to go over to examine Mia's room. She opens Mia's bag and finds a folder. Inside are all the articles and pictures of Judith as a radical. One of the pictures is a wanted picture for a terrorist, Jutta Beermann. Judith is stunned by this whole thing.
Now she uses a knife to take up a floorboard. She digs up a package that has inside a passport and money. She puts some of the money in her back pocket. Mia is just standing there watching Judith put the floorboard back. She says: "Mrs. Muller." Judith stands up and tries to act as if nothing is out of the ordinary. Mia asks if Judith can fix her car? Yes, anytime. Judith says it won't be hard to fix her car and then she can be on her way. Mia lies saying that her husband told her that she could stay another night. Judith says okay. Mia says she will take off then.
Mia goes to her room and finds that Judith has been there.
Judith takes off in her car and Mia comes outside. There she sees Lucas again.
Judith goes to a public phone and calls a friend named Anna and says that this is Jutta Beermann. She says that she needs help: "I may have to disappear." Anna says she will help.
Lucas lets Mia taste the different wines they make. He flirts with her and she says she is too old for him. Mia asks if Lucas has his mother's telephone number. Lucas says he will give her the number if she gives him another kiss. No. He asks what's so different about today from yesterday? They are soon throwing peanuts at each other. Lucas tries to kiss her again but she pushes him away. She leaves the room.
Judith comes back home and invites Mrs. Francke to dinner at 8 p.m. The whole family and Mia have dinner. The only highlight was that mom hit Francine on the head for griping about not wanting to deal with her grandparents over the weekend. Francine left the dinner table. Judith plays the piano after dinner.
Mia goes outside to talk with Francine. She gets Francine to laugh when she says that Francine is quite the rascal.
In the morning Judith goes to speak with Mia. She asks her: "How did you find me?" Mia says she saw her picture in the newspaper. Judith asks: "Why didn't you say who you are?" Mia asks her does anyone in her family really know who she is? No comment. Judith says that Mia looks a lot like her father. Mia says she's "pathetic". She goes on to say that in her mother's world she just doesn't exist. Judith says Mia is being unfair. This makes Mia angry. She asks: "You sitting in your shitty wine-princess idyll, calling me unfair?" Mom asks if Mia wants her to be locked up in prison? She says: "I'm not going to jail for something that happened 30 years ago."
And now we learn Mia's real name: Alice. Alice tells her mother to get lost! Mom says that this is her house! Alice goes outside and starts throwing wine bottles at the side of the house, busting them. Lucas comes out of the house to see what's going on. He tells Mia to stop throwing the bottles. Alice tells him: "My name isn't Mia. My name is Alice Rybka." She turns to look at her mother and says: "And that one . . . gave birth to me."
Mom is in the bathroom removing glass shards from Alice's feet. Alice asks: "My father, what did he die of?" Car accident on the way to Nepal. Mom asks her when did Alice first learn about her? Alice says when she was 13. She adds: "I know that you shot somebody dead and gave away your child." Mom denies that she killed anyone. Alice replies: "You're a coward, Jutta." Mom responds: "You're so damn smug!" Francine comes into the bathroom to ask what's going on? Mother tells her to go to bed. Francine leaves. Alice warns mom to tell her children the truth or she will do it herself.
In bed at night her husband tells her that she should have told him sometime. Judith says that she's really sorry.
Alice starts Xeroxing copies of Jutta's wanted poster. She walks down the road. Lucas drives up on his motor scooter coming back from a heavy drinking session at the bar. He says to her that she didn't kiss him because they are related. She replies: "Wanna go for a ride, little brother?" She hops on and they go toward the town.
Grandfather and grandmother arrive by car. Judith awakens and realizes they are here. She starts getting dressed. Jean-Marc comes out to say hello to his parents. And now Judith comes outside to greet them. Grandmother brought her flowers and a flat apple pie of sorts.
And now Judith is going to have problems from Francine, who asks her: "When did you intend to tell us? . . . Are there some more sisters out there?" Mom asks Francine to cool down. Francine says she going over to Claudine's place. She leaves. Mom starts preparing the rabbit for dinner. Judith is so upset that she throws the rabbit in the garbage and then goes into the bathroom where Alice is taking a bath. (Brief nudity.) She asks Alice what are they going to do now? Alice says Jutta is going to tell everyone about her past and then they are going to the police. Alice wants her mother to turn herself in. Mom says she won't do it.
Mom asks: "Don't you believe that I'm sorry for all of this?" She says she feels bad about what she did to her daughter, but she could not go underground with a child. Anyone could have blackmailed her then. She says the radicals were hunted like animals.
Alice goes to her room and locks the door behind her. Mom starts banging on the door and a new name slips out of her. She uses the name "Nini" as applied to her first daughter.
The grandparents and Jean-Marc come into the house. Grandmother finds the rabbit in the garbage and she retrieves it, saying to her husband that "they" didn't experience the war. Jean-Marc gets angry and he goes to find his wife and step-daughter. He goes into Alice's room to talk with her. He says he knows what his wife did was wrong and that it's something that one cannot atone for: "But don't destroy my family because of that!" Alice says Jean-Marc only talks about himself. Jean-Marc replies that Alice too only talks about herself. "Do you really want to denounce your mother?" He tells her that her mother is a decent person.
Alice pulls out her files on her mother and shows Jean-Marc the picture of the dead man and tells him to ask his wife who killed this man? Jean-Marc pushes the photos off the table and says he doesn't care what Judith did or didn't do in her past. In France they have the rule of the second chance and everyone deserves a second chance. Alice says she will get no second chance for her messed up childhood.
Grandfather goes walking with his son and daughter-in-law, while grandmother prepares the meal. Grandfather says that he will give the money to Jean-Marc so he won't have to go asking the banks for money. But what if something else goes wrong? Judith tells him that the new fields will pay for themselves in three years. Jean-Marc and Judith now see that Alice has put up Judith's wanted posters on all the new grape vines. Jean-Marc says to his wife: "I'll kill her."
The family is having a picnic. Lucas comes into Alice's room and asks her to eat with the family. When everyone is seated and eating, Alice comes to the table. Jean-Marc is angry that she had the gall to come and sit with them and he let's her know that, but Lucas comes to her defense. Alice clinks on her wineglass with a fork and offers a toast to a special meal. Alice starts denouncing parents who don't take care of their children. Then Judith starts defending her position. Lucas is on Alice's side. Lucas gets carried away with his juvenile non-understanding of things. Dad tells him to get out of here and Lucas leaves.
Grandmother and grandfather leave. Alice still sits at the table.
Alice and Lucas play the pin-ball machines in a bar.
In the house Jean-Marc asks Judith to tell him if she killed that man? She asks why is that so important to him? He tells her: "Kiss my ass!" and leaves.
Judith digs up her past from under the floor-board.
Lucas and Alice find Francine passed out from drinking alcohol. They bring her home and mom and Alice work to warm her up. Judith now tells Alice to come with her.
Judith shows Alice old films. There is Alice with her father on the day of a picnic. And there is the cute family dog. Judith says the day she filmed this, to have something to remember Alice by, was just three day before the robbery she participated in. She says she knew she would never see her daughter again. Alice asks why didn't mom give her to the grandparents? Judith explains because she was a radical and to her the grandparents stood for everything she hated.
Alice gets very agitated and tells her mother how it felt for her to be without her real family. She cries as she tells the story. Judith puts some of the blame on Alice's father, but Alice won't allow her to do this saying that her father is dead. He died and couldn't have changed things. But Judith could have changed things. She also wants to know how could Judith live the lie of having a happy family with so many skeletons in Judith's closets?
Alice sits in her car listening to her music and fuming. Judith comes and sits by Alice saying she is not guilty of being the only person responsible for all that happened to Alice. She says she has heard enough from Alice and tells her to stop it! The two women start fighting in the car. They both start crying and they stop hitting each other. Alice pulls away again from her mother.
Alice starts packing. She finds that someone has stolen her folder and goes to confront Judith. But it's not Judith that has the folder, but Lucas. She accuses Lucas of going through her bags, but Lucas says that Alice wanted to show all of file to them. He asks her why did she bring all these files? She answers that she needed proof of what she was telling them. He is very angry with Alice and tells her he doesn't want to know all of this about his mother. Alice tells him to forget it then! He gives her such a look of hate and disgust and then walks away from her. Now Alice is finally put on the defensive for doing something that harms others.
Lucas goes to see his mother, who is in bed. He calls to her, but she doesn't move an inch. Lucas turns around and leaves the room.
Later Judith comes out and asks Lucas what does he want to know? He wants to know what happened. She says everyone of the radicals fired shots and she does not know if it was her bullet that caused the death of the young man. Francine comes in and asks what's going on? She sits down at the table where the files and pictures are and starts to look at them. She asks who is this woman in the pictures? Judith says that it's her.
Francine asks what did mother do? She robbed a bank. Francine is shocked to think that her mother could ever have done something like that. She actually says: "Cool!" Dad is now there also and he looks none too happy. He walks over to Alice and slaps her really hard across the face.
Judith says they had all the money packed up and were leaving when this young man came into the bank with his little dog. He let go of the leash and the dog came over to Judith. The man dove to grab the leash and get the dog under control, but Judith thought he was attacking her and fired her pistol. She shot him.
Judith goes with Alice. Francine doesn't want her to go. Nor does her husband want Judith to go.
As the two women drive to the police station, Judith asks Alice to pull over. Judith gets out of the car and goes over to the grass to throw up. She cries and throws up some more. She sits down and cries. After awhile, she gets back up. She asks Alice how does she look and Alice says: "Beautiful." Alice finally shows a trace of feeling for her mother and the two women hug each other.
Mom takes her stuff out of Alice's car, She asks where is Alice going? She says she's going home. Mom starts walking along the side of the road.
Good film and very moving. Here we have a young woman who has been very damaged by being raised by strangers after her father had died and her mother had gone underground for being a radical that helped rob a bank for the cause and ended up shooting a young man who she thought was attacking her. The abandoned child grew up and started searching for her mother. She made an entire folder of photos and articles about her mother and the radicals. And then one day she sees a woman's face in the newspaper and decides that's her mother.
The girl is so damaged that the hate in her consumes her and that is the only emotion she seems capable of. And she hates her mother so much that she wants to destroy her. She wants to expose her and her lies to her new family in order to cause immense pain between her mother and her husband and her children. She accomplishes this. The whole family is in an uproar. The abandoned daughter now wants to bring her mother so far down emotionally that she will turn herself into the police.
The abandoned daughter is so hateful that she never gives her mother a chance to explain her side of the story and she has no empathy at all for her mother, even as another fellow human being.
Mom has her problems too. She is too defensive. Right off the bat she should have apologized for what she did and sympathized with her daughter's pain and hurt. Then she could have tried to explain her side of the story to her daughter. In her defense, however, she was constantly having to defend herself against serious allegations of neglect and abandonment.
And then everything comes to a real boil and emotions start changing a bit.
No one in the film handled this problem in a mature and caring way. Everybody was thinking only about themselves and no one else. If at least someone in the family had been mature enough, they could have acted as a referee to guide the discussions as it would have been done by a professional in the field. But no, no one was mature enough or kind enough. And that's the tragedy of a lot of families world-wide. No one apologizes because they all are too busy shouting how hurt they are by the actions of the others.
Patrick Louis Cooney, Ph. D.
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