'It doesn't always count': ZDF rape drama leaves viewers baffled

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Ina Weisse starred in “She Says. She Says. by Ferdinand von Schirach”, a prominent TV presenter who accuses her ex-lover of rape. The ZDF courtroom drama charmed with its constant change of perspective, which also affects the viewer's opinion. Is that right, Mrs. Weisse?

It was an impressive spectacle that we saw on ZDF on Monday night. In the courtroom drama He Says. He says. by Ferdinand von Schirach” (also in the media collection), based on a screenplay by lawyer and bestselling author von Schirach, starred Ina Weisse and Godehard Giese as former lovers on trial for rape. Multifaceted and with constant changes of viewpoints, viewers always tended to believe one side, sometimes the other.

“He says, he says” – ZDF movie about rape: A lawyer explains a major mistake on TV

This is what happened to Ina Weisse, the wife of the lead actor and director Matti Geschonneck (“The Wannsee Conference”). “It's difficult,” says the actress in an interview with the teleschau agency, “because the statement contradicts the statement. The audience knows as much as the judge and is in the same dilemma as to who to believe. When I saw the film for the first time, I was thrown from one position to another.

ZDF's rape drama leaves viewers baffled

Von Schirach's exciting courtroom drama thus joins a new trend where the topic of rape and consensual sex is treated in a more complex way than films of a few years ago. The Grimme Award-nominated ARD series “37 Seconds” (2023) would be another example. There and also “He says. “She Says” deals with cases where non-consensual sex can occur in a romantic relationship.

A topic on which actress Ina Weisse also has a clear opinion: «I think that the couple in the story knows exactly when the voluntary nature of touching ends. My character describes the events of the rape in great detail. It takes away the inevitability. This shows that the man always had the opportunity to act differently, to stop. He makes it clear with his precise description. They were lovers in the movie, but “no” always counts.

In the end, most of the viewers were probably amazed. Because at the end of the 106-minute drama “He Says. He says, “no verdict will be announced. Viewers will have to imagine for themselves how it might turn out or what actually happened. This complex court drama will also be a real challenge for the audience. Everyone is obliged to question their own standards of morality and justice – as it always is in the case of the author von Schirach's material.


This article “ZDF rape drama leaves viewers stunned” was originally from Teleschau.

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