The Future of Emily

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The Future of Emily
Theatrical release poster
Directed by Helma Sanders-Brahms
Produced by Helma Sanders-Brahms
Margaret Ménégoz
Ursula Ludwig
Barbet Schroeder
Christoph Holch
Written by Helma Sanders-Brahms
Suzanne Schiffman
Sylvie Ponsard
Music by Jürgen Knieper
Cinematography Sacha Vierny
Edited by Ursula West
Bettina Böhler
Galip İyitanır
Helma Sanders Filmproduktion GmbH
Les films du losange
Zweites Deutsches Fernsehen
Literarisches Colloquium Berlin e.V.
Distributed by Basis-Film-Verleih GmbH
Release dates
3 December 1984 (BFI London Film Festival)
Running time
108 minutes
Country West Germany
Language German

The Future of Emily (German: Flügel und Fesseln) is a 1984 West German drama film directed by Helma Sanders-Brahms. Barbara Kosta, author of Recasting Autobiography: Women's Counterfictions in Contemporary German Literature and Film, states that The Future of Emily, along with Laputa, "pursue[s] traditional narrative patterns" compared to Germany, Pale Mother, and "lapse[s] further into awkward melodrama."[1] Christian Schröder, author of Hildegard Knef: Mir sollten sämtliche Wunder begegnen, wrote that the film appears "very French" and "very German" at the same time and compared it to the films of Éric Rohmer.[2]


Isabelle Kahn is a successful film actress whose young daughter, Emily, is frequently cared for by her parents in Normandy while she's away working. After a production ends in Berlin, she returns to visit her daughter. However, the rejoicing is short-lived. Her smitten costar follows, and his presence sets off an intense clash between the self-centered thespian and her mother.


Filming began in Barfleur and Réville in Manche, Normandy in January 1984.[3]



The film was released on DVD by Facets Multi-Media in 2008.[4]


Film critic Glenn Erickson described the film as "good" and praised Facets' DVD production,[5] London's Time Out wrote that the "actresses sink their teeth into" the film "with consummate relish"[6] and it has been noted that the film is considered an "excellent drama [which is] Sanders-Brahms' most refined and elegant."[7] It has been argued that the film's "point is that, in modern society, there are women who also are living well without men, but they are brainwashed into thinking that they would be better off with male partners."[8]


  1. ^ Kosta, Barbara. Recasting Autobiography: Women's Counterfictions in Contemporary German Literature and Film. Cornell University Press, 1994. ISBN 0801482038, 9780801482038. p. 136.
  2. ^ Schröder, S. 318. (German)
  3. ^ Schröder, S. 317. (German)
  4. ^ "The Future of Emily". Facets Multi-Media. Retrieved 31 December 2013. 
  5. ^ Erickson, Glenn (20 July 2008). "The Future of Emily The Helma Sanders-Brahms Collection". DVD Talk. Retrieved 31 December 2013. 
  6. ^ "The Future of Emily". Time Out London. Retrieved 31 December 2013. 
  7. ^ "The Future of Emily". Kinowelt International. Retrieved 31 December 2013. 
  8. ^ Kupferberg, Audrey E. "Helma Sanders-Brahms". Film Reference. Retrieved 31 December 2013. 


  • Schröder, Christian. Hildegard Knef: Mir sollten sämtliche Wunder begegnen. Aufbau-Verlag, 2004. ISBN 3351025750, 9783351025755. (German)

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