Mata Hari – Dancing with Death

ARD, 2017, 90 min.

In their new dramatised documentary, the director and screenwriter Kai Christiansen and the executive producers Matthias Martens and Sandra Maischberger draw on two riveting biographies from the First World War: “Mata Hari and Mademoiselle Docteur” tells the story of the legendary dancer and spy and of her handler, Elsbeth Schragmüller, who is described as the “prototype of the cold German female spy”.

Kai Christiansen’s story is based on the book by Heike Brückner von Grumbkow and Jochen von Grumbkow, and focuses on the meeting of these two starkly contrasting women.

Mata Hari, born in the Netherlands as Margaretha Geertruida Zelle, was executed in France in 1917 at the age of 41, charged with being a double agent and with treason.

Natalia Wörner and Nora von Waldstätten star as the main protagonists. Other notable members of the cast include Patrick Joswig, Robert Schupp, Francis Fulton-Smith (who played the part of the evil Göring in “The Good Göring”), Michael Brandner, Vladimir Burlakov and Heike Hanold-Lynch.

Jan Kerhart is the director of photography. The film was shot in and around Bückeberg (in the administrative district of Schaumburg) and in Berlin.

“Mata Hari and Mademoiselle Docteur” is being made on behalf of the NDR, RBB and SWR, and is being funded by Nordmedia, Medienboard Berlin-Brandenburg and MFG Baden-Württemberg. The editorial team consists of Marc Brasse (NDR, in charge), Rolf Bergmann (RBB) and Gerolf Karwath (SWR).

The international distribution is in the hands of Studio Hamburg Enterprises.