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Aimée & Jaguar

Movie poster
Directed by Max Färberböck
Produced by Hanno Huth
Günter Rohrbach
Lew Rywin
Written by Max Färberböck
Erica Fischer (book)
Rona Munro
Starring Maria Schrader
Juliane Köhler
Music by Jan A. P. Kaczmarek
Cinematography Tony Imi
Editing by Barbara Hennings
Distributed by Senator Film
Release date(s) 10 February 1999
Running time 125 minutes
Country Germany
Language German

Aimée & Jaguar is a 1999 German drama film set during World War II. It was written and directed by Max Färberböck, based upon Erica Fischer's book, chronicling the actual lives of Lilly Wust and Felice Schragenheim during that time period. The book also contains photos of the many letters shared between the two, and official correspondences post WWII with regards to Felice's whereabouts. It stars Maria Schrader, Juliane Köhler, Johanna Wokalek, Elisabeth Degen, Heike Makatsch, Detlev Buck.


The film explores the lives of the characters Felice Schragenheim (Maria Schrader), a Jewish woman who assumed a false name and who belongs to an underground organization, and Lilly Wust (Juliane Köhler), a married mother of four children, unsatisfied with her husband (a German soldier). Felice takes the initiative in the love affair. Lilly, fascinated with the strength of Felice and her friends, falls deeply in love because she realizes that she can give love with a cosmopolitan woman rather than merely receive love from a man. The film features both erotic encounters and sentimental love poems (quoted from the book), and during one love scene a poetic line emerges in which Lilly is an Aimée to Felice as Jaguar. Then one day Lilly’s husband gets leave from the front and arrives home, only to see Felice and Lilly in bed. Although he then hoped merely to punish her for her indiscretion so that his marriage would return to normal, Lilly surprises him by asking for a divorce. He later dies at the front. Felice and her friends stop seeing Lilly for the sake of their own survival. On one occasion, Lilly erupts in anger over Felice’s unexplained absence for days, so Felice shares her secret that she is Jewish. After the 20 July Plot Lilly’s friends fear for their lives and arrange to flee Germany before they are rounded up. Felice prefers to take her chances in order to enjoy the love of her life, though unfortunately not for long, as Felice is captured by the gestapo. She died during a march from Gross-Rosen concentration camp in Poland to Bergen-Belsen concentration camp in Germany.

The story has two bookends. When the film begins in 1997, an 83-year-old Lilly (then played by Inge Keller) is taking up residence in a dilapidated flat that once served as an underground hideout. Lilly’s German maid Ilse (played by Johanna Wokalek in the 1940s, by Kyra Mladeck in 1997), who was rounded up during 1945, is already a tenant. Lilly and Ilse reminisce as the film ends. Lilly, though saddened by the tragedy that she caused her friends and lovers, is unable to imagine how her life could have been any different, given her obsessive live-for-today-for-tomorrow-we-die mood, common among besieged Berliners. Lilly Wust lived in Berlin until her death on 31 March 2006. The tagline of the film is "Love Transcends Death".

The movie was nominated for and won many German awards (both Köhler and Schrader notably won the best actress Silver Bear) and also was nominated for the Golden Globe Award for Best Foreign Film.


  • Maria Schrader as Felice Schragenheim (Jaguar)
  • Juliane Köhler as Lilly Wust (Aimée)
  • Johanna Wokalek as Ilse
  • Heike Makatsch as Klärchen
  • Elisabeth Degen as Lotte
  • Detlev Buck as Günther Wust
  • Inge Keller as Lilly Wust (1997)
  • Kyra Mladeck as Ilse (1997)
  • Sarah Camp as Frau Kappler
  • Klaus Manchen as Herr Kappler
  • Margit Bendokat as Frau Jäger
  • Jochen Stern as Werner Lause
  • Peter Weck as Chefredakteur Keller
  • Lia Dultzkaya as Hulda
  • Dani Levy as Fritz Borchert
  • Rüdiger Hacker as Ernst Biermösel

External links

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