„Mätressen – Die geheime Macht der Frauen“ („Mistresses – The Secret Power of Women“)


To develop a mini-series for a potential prime time broadcasting slot, targeting a wide audience within the framework of the ARD’s Christmas programming schedule. It was simultaneously to maintain historical accuracy, engage with themes of emancipation, and display an opulent, sensual mise-en-scène whilst addressing the often veiled topic of ‚mistresses‘.


Jan Peter and Yury Winterberg developed the mini-series as an independent, final segment of their „Geheimnisse des Vatikans“ (Secrets of the Vatican) trilogy, following on from „Die geheime Inquisition“ (The Secret Inquisition, 2001) and „Hexen“ (Witches, 2003). „Mätressen“ is striking for its opulent, aesthetic mise-en-scène, as well as a truly remarkable cast for a docudrama in Germany at that time. The production was shot at original locations throughout Europe and the USA. The third episode of the series, „The Pope’s Concubine“ achieved a milestone for the ARD, with a 15% share of the market and almost 4 million viewers.


Genre: Docudrama – three-part miniseries // Production Year: 2005 // Budget: c. 1.5 Million Euros // Running Time: 3x52Min.

Author:  Yury Winterberg // Cinematography: Michael Baum (BVK) // Editing: Susanne Schiebler // Set Design: Anna Heymann // Costumes: Mirjam Muschel // Makeup: Kathrin Westerhausen // Director: Jan Peter

Production: LE VISION // Coproduced by MDR, UFA with the support of Mitteldeutsche Filmförderung

Executive Producer: Simone Baumann, Jan Peter

Commissioning Editors: Wolfgang Fandrich, Ulrich Brochhagen (MDR)

Broadcast: Christmas 2005 on ARD; Regular repeats since on ARD, MDR, Phoenix, 3sat, etc.


„Sumptuously set up and picturesquely staged“, Berliner Zeitung

Mätressen is a thrilling Docu-tainment“ Taz

„Starring first-class actors – it rustles with sensuousness and latent eroticism“ Bonner Generalanzeiger

„Harems and orgies offer ample opportunity to address issues directly“. Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung

„Top class actors in a visibly quality-driven MDR production“. Die Welt

Artwork by Suse Schiebler.

Hannes Hellmann (middle) as Pope Alexander VI. in a loud celebration at the Vatican – with Cordelia Wege as his daughter Lucrezia and Julian Weigend as the powerful parvenu, Alessandro Farnese.

Christina Große as Madame de Maintegnon (left), Suzan Anbeh as the Marquise de Montespan (middle) and director Jan Peter rehearse a scene of jealousy.

Sylvester Groth as the Sun-King, Louis XIV.

Louis XIV. and his court during the shoot in the Dresden Barockgarten Großsedlitz.

Suzan Anbeh as Madame de Montespan and director Jan Peter plan an impressive entrance at Schloss Waldenburg, near Chemnitz.