Germany 2008, Documentary, 87' | Director, Screenplay Julia von Heinz | DoP Marcus Winterbauer, John Quester, Axel Schneppat | Editor Frank Brummundt | Sound David Urban | Music Matthias Petsche | Cast Verena von Zerboni di Sposetti, Alexandra Gräfin von Bredow, Alexandra Freiin von Beaulieu | Producer John Quester

“If a noblewoman marries a commoner she is 50 percent excluded. If she keeps her name she is 100 percent excluded. If she passes on her name to her husband, she is 175 percent excluded.” Baron's daughter Alexandra von Beaulieu Marconnay Countess Alexandra von Bredow lived a wild life, with lavish balls. Today she lives in a one-room apartment and makes a living making necklaces. At the age of 48, after suffering bouts of depression and various setbacks, she finally finds the love of her life. After the death of her father, baron's daughter Alexandra von Beaulieu Marconnay, oboist and teacher, has a close relationship to her mother. When moving to a new city, she makes use of her aristocratic connections to help her settle down there. But she finds it difficult to emerge from the shadows of her mother and her powerful line of ancestors. With girls' boarding school and law studies, Verena von Zerboni di Sposetti has enjoyed an elite education. She decides to give up her profession as a lawyer and do something completely different, and she is thrown out of aristocratic society and has to readjust.

Standesgemäß is a tongue-in-cheek swan song to a parallel society that is almost extinct. Julia von Heinz portrayed three aristocratic single women, all over 30, caught between traditional pretences and everyday life, unable to cope with the deeply ingrained expectations made of her. The feeling of being special sits deep. And yet within this bizarre microcosm of German nobility, the principle of “the male line” still applies: whereas a male member of the nobility can elevate a commoner to his own status through marriage without any problem, the process is the opposite for women: they lose their title and their place in society. So if they want to remain blue-blooded they must marry according to their station, or remain single.


JULIA VON HEINZ, born in 1976 in Berlin, is a qualified media designer and camerawoman. In 2006 she received a doctorate for her dissertation on “The influence of television on the choice of subjects for German film”. Von Heinz worked as an artistic assistant for Rosa von Praunheim at the Film & Television Academy (HFF) “Konrad Wolf” in Potsdam-Babelsberg and as a lecturer for direction at various universities and polytechnics. Her first full-length cinema film Was am Ende zählt was premiered at the Berlinale in 2007 and was invited to festivals all over the world. Standesgemäß is her first documentary. Von Heinz is herself from an aristocratic family. She married a commoner and kept her own name.

Julia von Heinz
Focus: Freedom