The Fisherman and His Wife - Why Women Never Get Enough
"For my wife, good Ilsebill, wills not as I’d have her will." Thus the refrain of the famous Grimm’s fairytale which inspired Doris Dörrie’s new film. Ida, a fashion designer and backpacker travelling through Japan in search of inspiration and ideas, is taken along in a taxi by two Germans, Otto and Leo, who reveal that they are fish merchants. In fact the "Flying Fish Doctors", as they call themselves, are looking for the particularly expensive kind of toy fish called koi for wealthy collectors in Germany.
Ida falls in love with the bashful veterinarian Otto and marries him right there in Japan. Back in Germany, Ida is pregnant and the lovebirds soon move from Otto’s caravan into a council flat. While Otto is perfectly content with the baby, his koi and the cramped apartment, Ida has ambitions of her own. She designs an extravagant, self-knit scarf collection in koi look and is even able to sell it to Ms Wagenbach’s fashion enterprise.
To make matters worse, Ida travels with Otto’s ex-partner Leo, meanwhile unhappily married, to Japan, where her scarf collection is a huge success. When Otto’s plan to sell a very valuable toy fish to factory owner Wagenbach falls through, the marriage of Otto and Ida is on the verge of self-destructing.
"We women are all Ilsebills who have been saying for generations: I want everything. We want both a career and love," says the director. "The woman wants more and more, because he wants nothing at all. That works both ways, and so that’s the story…"
Source: 56. Internationale Filmfestspiele Berlin (catalogue)