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 ... See full summary »
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 »
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 »
1941, the Third Reich seems to be winning the war. Luftwaffe (air force) general Harry Harras enjoys the good life as highly respected technician and Berlin ministry/ HQ official. However ... See full summary »
Viktor de Kowa
April 1945. Because he stole two bars of chocolate, the soldier Rudi is sentenced to death by the court-martial judge Dr. Schramm. Rudi manages to escape from the firing squad at the last ... See full summary »
Ingrid van Bergen,
Diederich Heßling is scared of everything and everyone. But as he grows up, he comes to realize that he has to offer his services to the powers-that-be if he wants to wield power himself. ... See full summary »
Germany 1939. Hans and Lene marry the day before the war breaks out, and Hans is sent to the Eastern front. During a bombing raid their daughter Anna is born. The house is destroyed and ... 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 ... 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.
8 of 13 people found this review helpful.
Was this review helpful to you?