A year ago in winter

Director: Caroline Link (2008)

Audio Samples

Der Rosengarten - Soldaten 0:43
Der Rosengarten - Finale 0:54


Disturbed Munich interior designer Eliane asks artist Max Hollander to paint a portrait of her daughter Lilli and her deceased son Alexander, who committed suicide a year ago. She wants the portrait as a reminder of Alexander, and provides Max with photos and videos of her son. She also wants Lilli to sit for the portrait, but the daughter thinks it is a repulsive idea to put a picture of her dead brother on the wall as "decoration".

Unlike her mother, the talented Lilli has little self-discipline and loses her leading role in the theatre academy by arguing with her teacher. She tries to find affection and intimacy in her relationship with the artist Aldo. But he isn't interested in giving it to her. At the sittings for the portrait, Lilli is initially very stand-offish with Max, while he tries to see within her and find her true character. He recognises that the siblings had a close relationship, and comes to understand Lilli's emotions. In doing so he also slowly uncovers parts of his own past, which also contains personal losses. The relationship between painter and model deepens and they warily become closer.

The resulting portrait doesn't meet Eliane's expectations, but it does break down her internal blockade, enabling her to get close to her daughter again. In the end, Eliane starts working through her beloved son's death and Lilli manages to accept the fact that she doesn't know why he killed himself and forgive him.