Suzan Anbeh as Gesche Gottfried in Effigy, Poison and the City. Photo credit: Udo Flohr

This film is publicized by Bunker 15 Films ( . Bunker 15 helps connect indie films to entertainment journalists and critics in order to provide said films with press, something that can be hard to receive when you are a small film crew.

Directed by: Udo Flohr

Written by: Udo Flohr, Peter Meter and Antonia Roeller

Starring: Suzan Anbeh, Elisa Thiemann, Christoph Gottschalch, Roland Jankowsky, Uwe Bohm, Marc Optiker, Tom Keidel, Nicola Melissa, Eugen-Daniel Korber, Marita Marschall

Synopsis (Bunker 15): 1828 in the German port city of Bremen: Two very different women collide in an age that has no place for either of them. One strives for a career in law, at a time when women aren’t even admitted to universities. The other has lived life outside the law and may now have to pay the tab. One of them needs to get her head together – while the other would do anything not to lose hers.

Based on the true story of female serial killer Gesche Gottfried, who was found guilty of killing 15 people, including her parents, her three children, her twin brother, three husbands, and some friends and neighbors. Another 20 victims were lucky enough to survive. In 1831, Gottfried was executed at age 46.

Awards (Bunker15):

– Around International Film Festival (2019).

Winner – ARFF International Mention

– The Monthly Film Festival (TMFF) (2019). 

Winner – Best Trailer

– Asti Film Festival (2019).

Winner – Jury Award, Prima Cosa Bella International

– Cyprus International Film Festival (2019).

Winner – Best Editing

Winner – Best Costume Design

Winner – Best Feature Film

Nominee – Best Music

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Nominee – Best Cinematography

Nominee – Best Screenplay

Nominee – Best Lead Actress

– European Cinematography Awards (2019). 

Winner – Best Feature Film Cinematography

– London Independent Film Awards (2019).

Winner – Best Trailer

– Filmfest Bremen (2019)

Nominee – Jury & Audience Award, Bremer Preis

– Long Island International Film Expo (2019).

Nominee – Best Trailer

– Scottsdale International Film Festival (2020). 

Winner – Best Supporting Actress in a Leading Role

– Mind the Indie Film Festival (2020).

Winner – Best Feature Film 

– WorldFest Houston (2020)

Winner – Best Historical Feature

Winner – Best Art Direction

– ReelHeART International Film Festival (2020). 

Winner – Best of Fest (Founders Award)

Winner – Best Historical Drama

Winner – Best First Time Filmmaker

Winner – Best Cinematography

Winner – Best Original Score 

Winner – Best Production Design

Winner – Best Set Decoration

Nominee – Best Feature Film 

Nominee – Best International Film 

Nominee – Best Editing

– Flathead Lake International Cinemafest (2020).

Winner – Best Foreign Film

Winner – Best Actor (Female)

Nominee – Best Original Score

Nominee – Best Cinematography

Nominee – Best Actor (Male)

Nominee – Best Director

– Beaufort International Film Festival (2020).

Winner – Best Actress

Nominee – Best Director

Nominee – Best Feature Film

– Queens World Film Festival (2020).

Nominee – Best Cinematography

Nominee – Best Ensemble (Narrative Feature)

– San Francisco Indiefest (2020). 

Nominee – Best Narrative Feature

– Garden State Film Festival (2020). 

Nominee – Best Ensemble

– Las Cruces International Film Festival (2020).

Nominee – Best International Film 

– Dallas Independent Film Festival (2020).

Nominee – Best Thriller

Elisa Thiemann as Cato Bohmer in Effigy, Poison and the City. Photo credit: Udo Flohr
Elisa Thiemann as Cato Bohmer in Effigy, Poison and the City. Photo credit: Udo Flohr

Monique’s review:

Effigy, Poison and the City stars Elisa Thiemann as Cato Bohmer a female paralegal (in modern terms) who not only upends the status quo in 1800s Bremen, Germany, as a woman in what was considered a man’s profession but also helps catch a serial killer. The killer, Gesche Gottfried, played by Suzan Anbeh, uses her seductive wiles to keep the men of Bremen at bay as she secretly kills people around the town with “mouse butter,” a pesticide used for eradicating mice made with arsenic.

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The film starts out as a slow-burn, but it quickly ramps up as the mystery unfolds. The film itself is well-made, planting the viewer in a realistic view of 1800s Germany, and uses an economy of time and words to tell a rich and fascinating story about a female serial killer who changes the psychologists of the time’s perceptions about the female mind.

Perhaps the film’s relatively tight time of around an hour and 40 minutes doesn’t allow for as much exploration of the psychological theories of the day regarding a serial killer’s impulses, but we do get enough of a sense that Gottfried’s impulses are mostly due to internal dis-ease than actual motives. But, the film also acts as an entry into the real story the film is based on, so if you are interested in learning more, consider engaging in your own study about the case to learn more about the time, the subjects, and the psychological theories that developed from the case.

Overall, if you’re a fan of psychological thrillers and period pieces alike, give Effigy, Poison and the City a watch.

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