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Pioniere in Ingolstadt (1971)

Berta, a naive young maid, searches for love when the army engineers come to town to build a bridge.


Rainer Werner Fassbinder (teleplay), Marieluise Fleisser (play)

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Credited cast:
Hanna Schygulla ... Berta
Harry Baer ... Karl
Irm Hermann ... Alma
Rudolf Waldemar Brem ... Fabian Unertl
Walter Sedlmayr Walter Sedlmayr ... Fritz Unertl
Klaus Löwitsch ... Feldwebel
Carla Egerer Carla Egerer ... Frieda (as Carla Aulaulu)
Günther Kaufmann ... Max
Burghard Schlicht Burghard Schlicht ... Klaus
Elga Sorbas ... Marie
Gunter Krää Gunter Krää ... Gottfried
Rest of cast listed alphabetically:
Ulli Lommel ... Zeck


Berta, a naive young maid, searches for love when the army engineers come to town to build a bridge.

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


Comedy | Drama | Romance




West Germany



Release Date:

19 May 1971 (West Germany) See more »

Also Known As:

Recruits in Ingolstadt See more »


Box Office


DEM 550,000 (estimated)
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:




Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
See full technical specs »

Did You Know?


Karl: You ain't got much time. Tomorrow we're strangers.
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User Reviews

fine, but for Fassbinder completists only
4 August 2017 | by MisterWhiplashSee all my reviews

Pioneers of Ingolstadt is one of the early works of the inspired, prolific dramatic director RW Fassbinder, and it may be a very good minor work but minor all the same. It's about a group of soldiers who have been brought to the small town of Ingolstadt to build a bridge. Not much drama happens there as that goes as planned; the meat of the film is the interactions with the local women (i.e. Hanna Schygulla, Irm Herrmann who one might recall from The Merchant of Four Seasons), and how they have some varied personalities (Schygulla wants true love, Herrmann likes to fool around, another girl has... her own thoughts), while the men are, perhaps by design, practically all the same.

It speaks to how much I like Hannah Schygulla and some of Fassbinders other early/consistent players that this was not only watchable but okay, though at the same time it left me wanting more from the characters and from some of the filmmaking itself. As I have worked through Fassbinder's early filmography (as in before Whity and Beware of a Holy Whore and his breakthrough year 1972), I have found it somewhat hit and miss. Even more then his other work, this has such a detached feeling about it, how everyone is disillusioned but also holding back their emotions (in the Bressonian influence I'm sure), and I felt something I don't like when I'm watching a Fassbinder film: boredom.

Its like, we get it, these soldiers toiling at this small town bridge and the local girls who have nothing much else better to do than spend their time with these "pioneers" as they're ironically called, are at best aimless and at worst miserable and cruel and (in their way perhaps) more or less deserve each ether. But this point is driven by Fassbinder, adapting a play he didn't write for German TV, to the point where I didn't care that much for anyone. If it weren't for the natural screen presence of (most of) the actors it might be one or Rainer's lessor films - or, to put it another way, he's explored many of the same themes in other, stronger, more memorable works, or at least with more memorable characters.

And who knows, maybe it wasn't the best idea for me to check this out at the end of a very long work day on 5 hours of sleep. It also doesn't help that the cameraman here has some strange inspirational ideas like... Having a cheap one-light on a camera pointed at actors walking and talking in a dark street. But that's just one example.

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