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Le dessous des cartes (1995)
First-rate geopolitical documentary series
By now "Le Dessous des cartes" / "Mit offenen Karten" (= "the background of maps" / "with open maps" ) is the longest-running program broadcast by the French-German culture channel Arte. This weekly documentary is renowned for the achievement to condense broad packages of actual and highly relevant background information on current geopolitical topics into a broadcast of only ten to twelve minutes. To achieve that end, the programm makes brilliant use of maps and a well-organized theme script to display all that information in a way that can be easily followed and understood.
Until the end of 2016, the show was produced and moderated by Jean-Christophe Victor and his Laboratoire d'études politiques et d'analyses cartographiques. Sadly, J.-C. Victor passed away on December, 28th, 2016. Hopefully, his former staff will come to the conclusion that the best way to honor his legacy would be a continuation of his outstanding political Magazine on the same quality standard. This series would be sorely missed otherwise.
Since the information of single episodes does not become outdated too soon, it can also be valuable to watch or (re-watch) older entries on youtube.
Tiefe Furchen (1965)
Respectable East German post-war drama
Erwin Geschonneck was one of the very few East German star actors who became known beyond the borders of his small home state (most notably probably for his role in the academy-award-nominated "Jacob the Liar", 1975). In this village-set drama, he is the "Red Schuster", a former communist dissident, returning to his home village in the summer of 1945, right after liberation from a 12-year Nazi concentration camp martyrdom (which parallels the actor's own life, who was imprisoned in different concentration camps during the years 1939-45).
The "Red Schuster" is made the new village mayor by the new powers that be, but a village in only-recently-liberated Germany is not the easiest place to be governed by a man who was absent for more than ten years and is a political adversary of all those who made their profit in the period of the Nazi regime.
"Tiefe Furchen" seems to assemble all the familiar topics of East German post-war period film productions. The same themes are present in the final chapters of the television shows "Wege übers Land", 1968 and "Märkische Chronik", 1983: - communists who were only recently liberated from concentration camps are now responsible to build a prospering country from ruins (especially from moral ruin), in a peace-making, not revenge-seeking manner - of course there is resistance: old Nazis and those who owe their property to their reign; former gentry and owner of large estates who want to prevent their land from being redistributed - youth has to find (often fight) their own new ways against temptations of old powers - poverty of the post-war era - individuals who don't want to share, even though they have more than they need (at least for the day, or the summer)
This film does a good job developing all those topics, though I'm rounding up on the rating since the visual material looks very dated.
Humor: 5/10 | suspense: 6/10 | emotional resonance: 7/10 | mesmerizing elements: 3/10
Kein Pardon (1993)
Respectable German showbiz satire
The face value of Hape Kerkeling's "Kein Pardon" might be a mere family comedy about mama's boy Peter Schlönzke (played by entertainer-comedian and the film's director Hape Kerkeling) who adores his favorite evening revue show a bit too much (and also far longer than might suit his age). However, the film turns into a rather keen show business satire shortly after Schlönzke applies for a performing role in that show, being the enthusiastic fan that he is.
While the film never leaves its family-friendly tonal foundation and might develop too slowly for some people's tastes, its witty humor makes it a fine experience for enthusiasts of satire and/or retro showbiz films.
Humor: 8/10 | suspense: 4/10 | emotional resonance: 6/10 | mesmerizing elements: 4/10