Car mechanic Anton Grubske manages to flee from captivity by using his wits. With the same cunning, he succeeds in escaping from a widow who is not only beautiful but also conniving. Anton ... See full summary »
Car mechanic Anton Grubske manages to flee from captivity by using his wits. With the same cunning, he succeeds in escaping from a widow who is not only beautiful but also conniving. Anton returns to his village, takes over his master's workshop and marries Liesel, his master's daughter. Anton converts old junk cars into tractors for large-scale landowners, whom he rips off wholesale. He makes use of illegal means and hoards his illegally earned money at home. This, however, does not at all please God-fearing Liesel, who belongs to a sect. For this reason, Anton leaves her and ends up with Sabine, his accomplice. Anton, by means of shady schemes, becomes a millionaire - a fact which, however, lands him in prison. An unpleasant surprise is in store for Anton on the day the Berlin Wall is built, August 13th 1961: Sabine takes off to Switzerland with her daughter and Anton's money which he had deposited at a West Berlin bank. In prison Anton turns activist. After his release, he has no ... Written by
DEFA Film Library
One interesting recurring item in this East German drama/comedy is the mummified black knight who is on display in the rural tavern. This is not just a movie fiction, but very probably the real Christian Friedrich von Kahlbutz, died 1702, "who is today most famous because of the state of preservation of his body; no noticeable mummification process was used upon his death. Today the mummified corpse is a tourist attraction" (Wikipedia).
The film starts with the burial of Anton, and then flashes back to his life, from WW2 (in the African desert) to his way home, with a little help by the Red Army, and most of all his career from car/tractor mechanic to economic criminal, as well as highly welcome parts obtainer for the industry.
Anton "the magician" wins fame by bringing car and tractor wrecks, of which there were plenty after the war, back to usable shape. And he wins quite some financial rewards, which he does not (cannot) register for the taxes. The money he secures "abroad", but after the building of the Berlin Wall he can't get to it, gets denounced, judged and jailed. However, even in jail he proves his efficient ways of obtaining needed parts, so his career continues (even with international action in Hungary) after he is released. One might say he's a "black knight" in the sense of doing welcome deeds with not-so-welcome methods.
The story has much more, but I'd better not give so much away... I found it very worth watching. One memorable scene deals with the demolition of a 1970s Chevrolet Impala. An interesting side aspect is also the Herrnhuter Brüdergemeine, a protestant "sect" to which Anton's wife belongs, "stricter than the Catholic".
This movie was distributed in Germany with SuperIllu magazine of May 8, 2008. I enjoyed it and the surprises it offered, and found it well worth the Euro 2.99 it cost me. 8/10.
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