In the late fifties a large industrial complex was built near Schwedt, in the GDR. This low budget film tells about the voluntary participation of the brigades of the Freie Deutsche Jugend in the building up, and as such belongs to the so-called Aufbau films. The FDJ was an organization similar to the YMCA, so the youth affiliate of there the Bolshevist Party. The boys and girls are strongly motivated to build a new socialist society, but they lack the skills and knowledge. This is remedied by Tomas Breitsprecher (played by the famous actor Manfred Krug, who was also a jazz player), an experienced civil engineer. However, Tom is not really a textbook character, and in particular has a bad reputation with women. Besides, he has never joined the party. Nevertheless, the construction proceeds rapidly, even though a bush fire temporarily has a devastating effect. Tomas has several collisions with Sigrit, the local FDJ secretary (played by Christel Bodenstein, apparently also a well-known actress), but this soon turns into a love affair. It becomes clear that the early marriage of Sigrit with another party member has been a mistake. The romance between Tom and Grit unfolds rather secretly in the fields and in an attic room. However they ascertain their mutual dedication, and it seems sincere. Since the film ends together with the summer, the final outcome of the affair remains unknown to the viewer. Marriage was by no means sacrosanct in the GDR. A large part of the film is devoted to the dialogs between Tom and Grit, in short phrases (Do you love your man? Yes. Does he love you? Yes. Doe you have children? No. Do you love your man? :silence:). I guess the texts merit a careful analysis, which I have unfortunately omitted up till now. For me the intriguing part of the film is the sketch of the party life in those first GDR years, since it shows the attitude that the state tried to promote among their people. Already the Soviet Union had its Subbotniks, workers doing voluntary overtime. In the Bolshevist philosophy, he workers should be willing to exploit themselves, and would experience their work as a fulfillment, or at least a dire need. Interestingly the rubble women in the GDR, who cleaned up the debris caused by the allied bombardments, did their job unpaid. On the other hand, the women in the FRG (western Germany) were recompensed for the same work. At first sight, the voluntary activity seems sympathetic. On closer examination, it can hardly have been really voluntary, and was based on social pressure, or at best on manipulation. In addition, volunteers seldom act in a professional and efficient manner. In the end, it is probably best to give any decent work performed a fair pay. With this bold remark I end my rather indecent review.
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