Maria Vera (Franziska Xaveria Maria Eppich, married Baroness von Osten Sacken), was an actress, director and teacher of Slovenian-German descent. She was born on November 22nd of 1881 in Kamnik and died in Ljubljana on January 12th of 1954. Between the years 1907 and 1954, she lived and worked in three cultural and language environments: German, Serbo-Croat and Slovenian. As an actress, she was engaged in eleven theatres which today reside in as many as eight European countries: Austria, Germany, Switzerland, Poland, Serbia, Montenegro, Bosnia and Herzegovina and Slovenia. During the period between 1911 and1914 she worked with the renowned director Max Reinhardt in the Deutsches Theater, Berlin. In total, she appeared in 279 theatre roles. Wherever she went, people admired her as a theatre star and a great cosmopolitan.
In the film I want to conquer the world – Portrait of the actress Maria Vera, her life is painted as a journey between different cultures, cities, languages, theatres, political systems and historic periods. The narrator and protagonist Barbara Sušec Michieli travels across Europe by train and searches for the legacy of Maria Vera. Her contemplations are intertwined with passages from Maria’s journals, discussions on acting and the theatre, the position of women in art and in life, musings on home and the world. The voice of Maria Vera is enacted by Maja Gal Štromar.
The portrait assumes the shape of a collage of diverse images – Maria Vera is shown as a beloved theatre star and unrelenting traveller, as well as a lonesome artist, mother, wife. Her memories and reflections are recounted by: Pino Mlakar, Demeter Bitenc, Polde Bibič, Žarko Petan, Janko Moder, Rapa Šuklje, dr. Niko Sadnikar, Branko Miklavc, Mija Janžekovič, Ivanka Mežan, Iva Zupančič, Peter Zobec, dr. Marko Marin, Alenka Puhar, Leopoldina Bar, Jože Švagelj and her great-grand-nephew, Gregor Epih.
What is acting, actually? This subject is discussed in the film by actresses Veronika Drolc, Nataša Matjašec, Polona Juh, Jette Ostan Vejrup and Aleksandra Balzamovič.
Ljubljana, Vienna, Zurich, Berlin, Gdansk, Sarajevo, Belgrade… The film was shot in seven European countries. Foreign appearances include theatre historians, directors and actresses form Switzerland, Germany, Poland, Serbia and Bosnia and Herzegovina: Mieczysław Abramowicz, Ejla Bavčić Tarakčija, Magda Boć, Stephan Dörschel, Peter Fischer, Momčilo Kovačević, Sulejman Kupusović, dr. Anna Pia Maissen, Lotte Ohm, Halina Pichit, Hans Rübesame.