April 1945: Gregor Hecker, 19 years of age, reaches the outskirts of Berlin as part of the Red Army's scouting team. Having fled Germany with his family when he was eight, he is confronted ...
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As rumors reach them that the Allied armies are advancing on their concentration camp at Buchenwald, Polish prisoners renew their feeble hope for survival and freedom. When a group of ... See full summary »
Sunny is the singer of band trying to establish itself in the music-scene of East-Berlin. They play regular gigs in small towns, but Sunny feels out of touch with the audience and her life ... See full summary »
Injured on the job Vasily Kuzyakin gets a ticket to the resort. There he meets femme fatale Raisa Zakharovna, and once under the charm, moves to live with her. Unfortunately, a new life is not all that sweet as dreamed hapless Vasily.
As a painter in the court of King Carlos IV, Goya - played by the great Lithuanian actor Donatas Banionis (The Red Tent, Solaris) - has attained wealth and reputation. He believes in King ... See full summary »
Young Siberian writer Volodya meets Kolya in the Moscow metro in his visit to a famous author. Volodya and Kolya's friend Sasha adventure their love interests in their own way, while Kolya sets out to help them.
A busy attorney, worried that his anorexic daughter Olga might try to harm herself, since she's still grieving over her recently deceased mother, sends her to see a psychiatrist, Anna, who's dealing with her own loss in an unusual way.
On 24th August 1992 in the eastern German city of Rostock a rampaging mob, to the applause and cheering of more than 3,000 bystanders, besieged and set fire to a residential building ... See full summary »
Four young Germans in a Soviet POW camp decide to join the Red Army to hasten the end of the war. Their new identities elicit different reactions from Germans and Russians, and are ... See full summary »
April 1945: Gregor Hecker, 19 years of age, reaches the outskirts of Berlin as part of the Red Army's scouting team. Having fled Germany with his family when he was eight, he is confronted with the dilemma of having to fight men from the very country he was born in. Through dealing with challenging situations (e.g. he is appointed commander of Bernau, talks to many disillusioned Germans, and is once and again attacked by scattered groups of German soldiers), he grows more confident that not all hope is lost for post-war Germany. Based on the diary entries of director Konrad Wolf, the episodic movie authentically portrays the protagonist's struggle to come to terms with his own past and identity. Written by
The film reaches a grim climax by featuring a short clip from the DEFA-documentary "Todeslager Sachsenhausen" ("Deathcamp Sachsenhausen") (1946), detailing the technical proceedings in a death-chamber. See more »
Soviet/East German propaganda, sugar coating history
I rented this film because of an interest in German culture and history. I lived there for a while, and have a (former East-) German wife and relatives. My wife, who was 11 in 1945 when this film takes place, says that it was much worse then than the movie shows, particularly with regard to the utter devastation, starvation, and behavior of the Russian soldiers. Few women between ages of 13 and 50 escaped being raped, and most boys of her age and a bit older were taken away and never seen again. After reunification, the mass graves of many of them, killed by Russians, have been found. Her father, who was never a soldier or Nazi, was shipped off to slave labor in Kazakhstan for about ten years. In the movie, it is implied that the surrendering German soldiers were rewarded with extra food, and then sent home. Get real.
The intent of the movie, made in the GDR at a time when they were barraged with propaganda trying to make them believe that Russians were their friends, is obvious.
Nevertheless, I did enjoy watching it, because even propaganda can be interesting for what it is. (Example: Triumph of the Will, which is infinitely better than this movie). The events involving the surrender of Spandau prison to the 19 year old Russian "commandant", which may have been based on fact and the director's own experience, were of particular interest, and well dramatized.
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