Die Rache der Wanderhure (2012) is the sequel to Die Wanderhure (2010), a highly successful German television film based on the novel by Iny Lorentz. Die Rache der Wanderhure picks up with Lorentz’s second novel in the series with director Hansjörg Thurn returning to helm the project. The production values of Die Rache der Wanderhure are modest and give the film the look and feel of American television films such as Merlin (1998) and The Mists Of Avalon (2001).
Actress Alexandra Neldel returns to the franchise to reprise the role of Marie Adler. In Die Rache der Wanderhure Marie navigates court intrigue, duplicity and the cunning of the Tartar invaders to save the life of her newly born son and preserve the kingdom of Holy Roman Emperor Sigismund of Luxembourg (Götz Otto). The tone of the piece is comparable to a paperback romance novel. However, the fine acting of the ensemble adds a gravitas to the proceedings that make the melodrama compulsory viewing.
Much of the dramatic structure of Die Rache der Wanderhure and its tenuous relationship to the historical record bears a similarity to Philippa Gregory’s The Cousins’ War series of novels and their television adaptations. In English speaking territories Gregory’s works are much better known than Lorentz’s though their function as feminist re-imaginings of European history is ostensibly the same. The value of these films isn’t about aesthetics, it’s about widening the possibilities of the discourse around major events in early modern history to include and even to be rooted within a feminine perspective.
Die Rache der Wanderhure is nothing more than it pretends to be and accomplishes nothing less than it aspires to. Die Rache der Wanderhure is simple escapism that, if the viewer permits, suggests a reconsideration of history. There are plenty of better films that serve this purpose but Die Rache der Wanderhure is not unworthy of consideration, especially if the events depicted in the film are of interest.