Bauhaus student Dörte Helm (Anna Maria Mühe) and Walter Gropius (August Diehl) are close - too close?

Dramatic art

In the series “Die Neue Zeit” (The New Age) Lars Kraume resurrects the Bauhaus. What fascinated the director about the topic? We spoke to him.
by Fabian Peters | 9/27/2019

Would the Bauhaus not provide a wonderful setting for a drama series? It was a thought that preoccupied director Lars Kraume for years. After all, his wife had a brilliant idea: "Take a look at the women at the Bauhaus," the art historian advised him. Kraume was quick to recognize the explosive nature in the contradiction between the superficial progressiveness of the institution and the patriarchal structures that continued to exist behind the scenes. Emancipation, equality and the male role model are key topics of the series. “Initially, we planned to send a fictitious heroine to the Bauhaus,” says Kraume, explaining how the script developed. “But then in our research we chanced upon Dörte Helm, who moved from the Weimar Academy to the new school in 1919. Little is known about the works of Helm at the Bauhaus and her personal situation is also largely in the dark. As Kraume was able to discover though, “she is described as ‘stubborn’ and was permitted to leave the weaving class that all female students were automatically assigned to”.

This contradictory nature is developed to an ever greater extent with the character in the series, played by Anna Maria Mühe. Something that is also historically documented is the “Court of Honor”, which she and Bauhaus Director Walter Gropius had to answer to after being accused of having a love affair. Here, Kraume admits quite frankly that the series enters the realm of speculation. Was there actually a relationship between the famous architect and his student? “What we found so mysterious about Dörte Helm’s biography is that, having fought all the opposition she encountered at the Bauhaus, she later returned to her conservative family in Rostock,” says Lars Kraume. In his series he attempted to fill in these gaps and find an explanation for why Dörte Helm left the Bauhaus. So what was it? You can find that out for yourself by watching “Das Neue Zeit”.

All six parts of the series "Die Neue Zeit" are available in the media libraries of ZDF and arte.

Die Neue Zeit (The New Age) - 01 Nach dem Krieg (After the war)
On the set of "Die Neue Zeit" director and screenwriter Lars Kraume makes the final preparations for the next scene.