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Dr. Janina Möbius

Janina Möbius, Ph.D., explores cultural phenomena in Latin America and Europe through academic research and cinematographic means.With the production company, la paloma documentaries, she produces her films and conducts pedagogical media projects.She studied Theatre, Film, and Television Studies and Spanish Philology at the Freie Universität Berlin, the University of Granada in Spain, and the Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México in Mexico City.In 1995, she filmed her first documentary, "Gods of Flesh and Blood," about Mexican wrestling called Lucha Libre.For her monograph, "And behind the mask...the people. Lucha Libre – a Mexican popular spectacle between tradition and modernity", Janina spent several years in the world of masked wrestlers and folk heroes, such as El Santo, the One with the Silver Mask. The work has been published in Germany and Mexico. Her doctoral work on the subject, which she completed at the Institute for Theatre Studies at the Freie Universität Berlin in 2002, was generously supported by the DAAD. Over the next four years, she conducted research for a VW-Foundation project about contemporary popular theatre in Mexico, Colombia, and Peru, under the direction of Professor Erika Fischer-Lichte. Two of these years were spent doing field research and conference organization in Latin America.

"Applied Theatre im interkulturellen Kontext: Filmreihe und Forschungsansätze" (with Julius Heinicke). Institut für Theaterwissenschaft, Freie Universität Berlin. WS 2014/15.


  • Möbius, Janina. Theater als Intervention. Politiken ästhetischer Praxis, together with Julius Heinicke, Joy Kristin Kalu, Natascha Siouzouli and Matthias Warstat, Berlin: Theater der Zeit, 2015. 
  • Möbius, Janina: "Teatro penitenciario con jóvenes: retos y desafíos en la práctica y su análisis", in: Paso de Gato, revista mexicana de teatro 67 (2016), p. 25 - 28.
  • Möbius, Janina: "Lucha libre de la vida", in: Artes de México 119 (2015), p. 35 – 43.
  • Möbius, Janina. Y detrás de la máscara… el pueblo. Lucha Libre,
  • un espectáculo popular mexicano entre la tradición y la modernidad. Mexiko, D.F.: UNAM, Instituto de Investigaciones Estéticas, 2007.
  • Möbius, Janina. Und unter der Maske … das Volk. Lucha Libre – ein mexikanisches Volksspektakel zwischen Tradition und Moderne. Frankfurt/Main: Vervuert Verlagsgesellschaft, Bibliotheca Ibero-Americana Bd. 99, 2004.

Selected Presentations

  • Curator and moderation of panel: "Really Useful Theater – an international perspective", Berlin, Germany: conference/festival „Really Useful Theater“, 19/11/16 – 21/11/16
  • Curator and moderation of panel: “Internationale Kulturförderung: Geben & Nehmen?”, Berlin, Germany: Conference ERC-Project AestApp: “Profitable Aesthetics - Performative Strategies of Involvement”, October 2016
  • "Die Krux mit dem Kreuz: Die Passionsspiele im Jugendgefängnis von Mexico City". Paper presented at conference "Playing Involuntarily – Shaping Subjectivity in a Theatrical Society “, Berlin, Germany, July 3-4, 2015.
  • “Theatre Research in Prisons – or The Reality of a Sandwich”. Journées d’études coordonnées par Sophie Houdart et le CréaLab, Laboratoire d’Ethnologie et de Sociologie Comparative et Université Paris Ouest Nanterre la Défense, Paris, December 2014.
  • “’Me and my Story’ – On a documentary-film workshop in the Caucasus region”, screening and guest lecture, Alice-Salomon-Hochschule, Berlin, November 2014.
  • “El Análisis del Teatro Aplicado – cuestionamientos éticos, estéticos y politicos". AMIT (Asociación Mexicana de Investigación Teatral), annual conference, Toluca, Mexiko, October 2014.
  • “La Estética del Teatro Aplicado – consideraciones éticas”, guest lecture, Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México (UNAM), Mexiko City, September 2014.
  • “’Me and my Story’ – On a documentary-film workshop in the Caucasus region”, screening and guest lecture, Alice-Salomon-Hochschule, Berlin, January 2014.
  • “’Too Naco to be Mexican?’ - Negotiating ‘Lo Mexicano/The Mexican’ in Mexican Popular Theatre, Mexican Wrestling, and Social Theatre in Mexico City”. IFTR (International Federation for Theatre Research), annual conference, Barcelona, July 2014.
  • “Deutsche Spuren in Mexiko”, talk about research and film screening, guest lecture, Alice-Salomon-Hochschule, Berlin, May 2013.
  • “Von der Wissenschaft zum Dokumentarfilm”, guest lecture, Lateinamerika-Institut, Freie Universität Berlin, May 2012.
  • “Y debajo la máscara... el Pueblo. Lucha Libre – un espectáculo popular mexicano entre tradición y modernidad”, guest lecture and film screening, Festival Cultural de la Universidad de Morelia, Mexiko, September 2011.
  • “Das Ringen mit den Wrestlern – Feldforschungen zu Lucha Libre in Mexiko”, guest lecture, Universität Bonn, Ringvorlesung: Sprechschwierigkeiten – transkulturelle Analysen aus Ethnologie und Kulturanthropologie, May 2011.



  • 2017 CORAJE – CouRAGE – Wut/Mut, 75 min., HD, direction & script: Janina Möbius, production: ERC, FU Berlin, AWO International e.V., la paloma documentaries – Janina Möbius. Documentary about applied theatre initiatives in Mexican Juvenil Prison System.
  • 2015 Milchglas – oder Die Welt ist doch nicht scheiße, 25 min, HD, production: Alice-Salomon-Hochschule, documentary about a juvenile theatre company in Berlin-Neukölln.
  • 2015 Der Prozess ..., 17 min, HD, production: Alice-Salomon-Hochschule, short documentary about the development of the theatre play "Kafka im Kopf" with young people form Berlin-Neukölln.
  • since 2011: Die Bumbuls, author, director (with Sandra Merseburger), long-term-documentary about a single mother and her daughter.
  • 2010 Apfelstrudel – oder deutsche Spuren in Mexiko, 73 min, HD, for DAAD and German Embassy in Mexico.

  • 2009 Lotería, 63 min, prod.: German Federal Cultural Foundation, festivals: „Your Nanny Hates You!" HAU Berlin, Globale Berlin & Cologne, screened at exhibitions in Berlin and Vienna.

  • 2008 Theaterhunger, Weltendurst – Fliegen und Existenz, 38 min loop, for the festival "Re-Education" Berlin.

  • 2005 Pfeffer – der Handel mit dem schwarzen Gold, 45 min, ZDF/arte Discovery.

  • 1995 Götter aus Fleisch und Blut, 45 min, Beta-SP, festivals in Mexico, Portugal, Colombia, Germany.



  • Janina Möbius, Janina Moebius, la paloma documentaries, Mexico, Berlin, Granada, Erika Fischer-Lichte, theatre studies, film studies, Spanish Philology