Section: Documentary Films

Sad Songs of Happiness (2014) 13

Germany | 2014 | 83 min.

Although Hiba, Rita and Tamar, pupils at the international Schmidt’s Girls College in Jerusalem, have only been receiving classical singing lessons for under two years, their music teacher has entered them to the prestigious competition Jugend Musiziert ("Youth Makes Music"). An exciting journey awaits the students: their trip will take them out of their conflict-ridden everyday lives to the first round of the competition, which will be held in Istanbul in 2013. For those who succeed in this round, the journey will continue to Germany where the competition is celebrating its 50th anniversary. Every single girl brings the right qualities to reach the local finals: musical talent, a special voice – and a never-ending joy of singing.

Duration83 min
SubtitleEnglish, Czech
Directed by Constanze Knoche
Screenplay Leis Bagdach, Constanze Knoche
Director of Photography Kirsten Weingarten
Music Felix Andriessens
Edited by Kai Minierski
Contact Neufilm


Constanze Knoche (1975) is a German screenwriter, director and producer. In Leipzig she graduated from dramaturgy and studied film at schools in Potsdam, Vienna, and Lisbon. From her productions (including TV and documentary films) we'll mention The Hostage (Die Bürgschaft, 2006), Teresa's Room (Teresas Zimmer, 2007), and The Visitors (Die Besucher, 2012) with which she made her full-length film debut.