After a breakdown, Rita returns to her childhood village. It is 1961. As she recovers, she remembers the past two years: her love for the chemist Manfred, ten years her senior; his ... See full summary »
After a breakdown, Rita returns to her childhood village. It is 1961. As she recovers, she remembers the past two years: her love for the chemist Manfred, ten years her senior; his enthusiasm about his new chemical process, which turned to bitter disappointment in the face of rejection; his escape to West Berlin a few weeks before the Wall was built; and his hope that she would follow him. This East German classic, praised by critics as one of Germany's 100 Most Important Films, is based on Christa Wolf's internationally-known novel, criticized in the GDR for questioning the construction of the Wall. Produced during a brief cultural thaw in the early 1960s, this film was strongly influenced by French Nouvelle Vague cinema. Written by
DEFA Film Library
Very interesting and useful to understand German history
The underlying book pf Christa Wolf is very famous and many German children already have read it in school. The movie follows the book very accurately, the author herself also worked for the movie script.
It is a story about a couple which is separated through the different ways the two German states took. The girl is 20 and the boy 29 when they meet. They live together in a bigger city in eastern Germany where he finishes his studies and she starts to study at the university. She also starts to work in a factory. In the process of working with her colleagues she starts to understand the difficulties of working in a socialist economy and how different people react to these obstacles. Some turn inside and work only as much as necessary, others try to achieve something but have to deal with politics. She feels more and more passion for this society and starts to encourage others to speak out and not to give up.
Her friend gets more and more frustrated triggered by the rejection of a new process developed by him. He sees more chance to work and pursue his career in the west and so he leaves eastern Germany. He expects his girl-friend to follow him but she decides after having visited him that she belongs to her colleagues and into her world. The love story ends.
The movie has a kind of sad undertone. His decision appears like "giving up" and she looses the only one she loves. The film ends with her saying that she is over it waiting for a letter of him.
What I liked about this movie is the seriousness and the good dialogs. The love story is told without a sentimentality and therefore even more convincing. It is a good contrast to some "softer" movies of the (western German) 60ies. However to understand also the context in which the book has been written, it is helpful to dig into the internet and look for the official role writers had in the late 50ies in the GDR.
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