Also known as Die Bleierne Zeit (The German Sisters), Marianne and Julienne is an extension of themes explored by director Margarethe von Trotta in her earlier Sisters, or the Balance of Happiness. Once more, the principal characters are two well-bred sisters, outwardly polar opposites of one another, but birds of a feather in many ways. Marianne (Barbara Sukowa) is a radical terrorist, while Juliane (Jutta Lampe) edits a mainstream feminist magazine. The film explores how the same ideological words can be harnessed for both order and chaos, depending on how far an activist is willing to go. Von Trotta based her screenplay for Marianne and Juliane on the real-life Enslein Sisters.