USA 2023
Director: Maggie Contreras
Cast: Zoe Zeniodi, Tamara Dworetz, Ustina Dubitsky

83 Min. | OmeU
German Premiere

It is safe to assume that very few of us have ever seen a female music conductor, at least if we do not count Cate Blanchett in »Tár«. This is not surprising, as less than 3 percent of conductors of the world’s big orchestras are women, as Maggie Contreras’ »Maestra« informs us early on. But it is also deeply upsetting, as we are so used to seeing female musicians that we wrongly assume the glass ceiling to be already broken.

This is what makes this superb documentary so important, but also so heart-warming, as it follows five women travelling to and competing in the one competition held exclusively for female conductors: »Maestra« in Paris. The competitors the film follows have been wonderfully chosen, as they come from very different countries, backgrounds and conducting styles. The latter will become apparent later, when - having gotten to know them – we see them onstage and realize that being a great conductor is not just about skill, but also personality.

Not all of them can win, but »Maestra« performs the miracle of investing us emotionally in all of them, as they do not fight each other. They fight as a group in an area where equality is long overdue – and it’s a pleasure to watch these strong women create beautiful music.