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Hannes Balla is the foreman of a group of building construction workers at the large construction site "Schkona" in the GDR. They spend most of their time working hard and drinking harder - to some they are fun, to some they are a public nuisance. Things get more complicated when the good-looking Kati Klee is employed as a young technician, and the ambitious new Party Secretary, Werner Horrath, aims to boost work efficiency and downsize Balla's ego. Kati slowly warms up to Werner, but is also attracted to Balla's nonconformity. A contemporary movie about work, love, and everything in between. Written by
Director Frank Beyer originally planned to cast 'Armin Müller-Stahl' as Werner Horrath and Jutta Hoffmann as Kati Klee. However, both were involved in other projects at the time. Thus, the Polish actress Krystyna Stypulkowska got the role as Kati Klee and Jutta Hoffmann did the German voice-over for her. Beyer was happy with this decision for he believed that lending Klee's character a less well-known face would make her and her lovers' characters more ambiguous. See more »
A delightful film that is far more truthful about life in GDR than one might expect from DEFA--understandably but unfortunately banned by the government for how thoughtfully and ambivalently it portrays the party. Rather straightforward style, with some wonderful shots but altogether rather conservative and uneventful in terms of camera shots. All the better for the characters and the plots, though, which are compelling enough. Not a trivial love story, though with its cliched moments, it is more poignant and ambiguous and unpredictable than similar DEFA films. Balla is great to watch, and nicely tempers the potential melodrama of Kati and Werner. None of the characters is simpleminded or heroic, all are fleshed out well.
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