Berlin, seven years after WWII. Four women are looking for happiness and a good man in the divided city. Their destinies are loosely connected through one person: the West Berlin dandy and ...
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Berlin, seven years after WWII. Four women are looking for happiness and a good man in the divided city. Their destinies are loosely connected through one person: the West Berlin dandy and womanizer, Conny. Released at the peak of East German cultural and political dogmatism, the film was heavily critiqued, especially by female party leaders who objected that its portrayal of the four women did not represent the qualities that characterized women in the new society. Now considered as a richly contradictory work, Destinies of Women represents an encore production by the Dudow/Eisler/Brecht creative team that also made Kuhle Wampe in 1932.Written by
DEFA Film Library
The destinies of four East-German women during the early 1950s
This film was created in 1952 during the peak of cultural/political dogmatism in the GDR. During this time, films were officially supported if they portrayed "typical fates in typical situations" with "positive heroes" in the lead roles who could convince viewers of the victory of socialism.
Director Slatan Dudow chooses another, less conspicuous and didactic method. His protagonist, Conny, a womanizer from West Berlin, is the archetypal bourgeois adventurer. The film presents him in relations to four women: a law student who is almost ruined by her love for him; a designer who becomes pregnant with his child, loses her job in West Berlin and moves to East Berlin; another woman who, in an attempt to impress him, steals a dress and later becomes guilty to the death of her brother; and lastly, another student who rebuffs Conny the first time they meet.
For Slatan Dudow, the positive heroes are the women, not the men. This interpretation was hardly shared by the political leadership in the GDR. During an SED film conference, The Destinies of Women received harsh criticism. Despite the declamatory scenes and black/white portrayals of East and West Berlin, The Destinies of Women provides an accurate picture of the times and proves to be a substantial political study. Stylistic innovation and a striking montage approach make this film a DEFA classic.
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