Why the heroine of the film Carolin does resist her love for the sensitive and passionate young man, Robert, whom mere physical closeness to her can put into erotic trembling and who can risk near everything in order to be with her? This is the question von Trotta puts in front of the viewers. Indeed, why does Carolin try to avoid love? – Is it for the sake of loyalty to her father, a charismatic old man? Or it is because of her childhood traumas and the personal complexes they trigger? Help to answer these questions comes from von Trotta indirectly – through the very form of the film: she composes it as a kaleidoscope of hero’s dreams of a pleasant, intriguing, prosperous and permanently renewed reality. More exactly, Robert’s dreams are not personal at all but quite standard and commercialized, like ads, a tourist kind of dreams about being in the center of comfortably enveloping reality as collage of segments as if privatized for personal pleasures – standard hotels, restaurants, lobbies and tourist locations, enigmatic encounters, mysterious women. Robert‘s dreams are like today’s life of the upper middle class inhabitants of the West when reality of political clashes and existential dilemmas has disappeared and what is left is our sentimental sensitivity inflamed by commercial cinema.
With “Ich Bin…” Von Trotta has joined other exceptional film-directors in the criticism of today’s mass-cultural sensibility – Liliana Cavani in “Beyond Obsession” (1982), Helma Sanders-Brahms in “Future of Emily” (1985) and Alain Tanner in “A Flame in my Heart” (1987). In her film she underlines the contrast between unreal values (including comfortable consumerist sex and addiction to luxury) seductively imposed by commercial civilization, and a genuine reality we can barely discern through our nostalgic memories of a generalized authentic past.
In “Ich Bin…” what from the first glance looks like a fight between adulthood (Carolin and Robert’s love) and her childhood fixations becomes a fight between taste for genuine experiences nurtured in Carolin by her father [although a person with authoritarian air] and the childlike frivolous imaginary inside all of us projected into our souls by the artificial conditions of our life.

The Father is not always a “demonic” figure in our unconscious – asserts von Trotta’s film. In comparison with today’s frivolous and obsessive life style some old fathers deserve to win.