(Frank Beyer, Germany, 1991) 98 minutes
Director: Frank Beyer
Screenplay: Ulrich Plenzdorf,
adapted from the narrative "Unfinished Story" by Volker Braun
Photography: Peter Ziesche
Editor: Lotti Mehnert
Music: Gunther Fischer
Christian Heinrich (Karin)
Nikolaus Grobe (Frank)
Michael Gwisdek (Karin's father)
Christine Schorn (Karin's mother)
Marie-Anne Fliegel (Frank's mother)
Ulrike Krumbiegel (Karin's sister)
Reviews and notes
A retrospective view of the GDR, and of a love story that is frustrated by political conditions. Karin's father is an influential government official and an opportunist as well. He demands that his daughter end her relationship to Frank, because at the office for state security the young man is suspected of "something". At first Karin obeys her father's demand, especially since she does not want to jeopardise her future career because of Frank. Soon, however, she regrets her decision, allies herself with Frank and moves in with him. From then on Karin experiences pressure from all directions; not only do her parents interfere but also a personnel officer, the Party and even state security...
About the Film:
is not a public condemnation, even though it is a rather bitter film about everyday life in the GDR, and a bit of coming to terms with the past. The anger contained in this look back is suppressed and somewhat reduced, at least regarding the production of the film; obviously the parable-like character of the story is more important to the director.
This film is about a society that has lost its ideals and sometimes has also abandoned its utopias, one in which the word of an informer carries more weight than the opinions of those affected, and where snooping around to find out people's political convictions is also extended to include their private lives. It is no longer a question of the "dictatorship of the proletariat", but rather of the tyranny of the security apparatus. Between the fulfilment of private needs and what the state defines as happiness lies a contradiction that can no longer be bridged. Even the life within the family is affected by this; there is no escape.
Frank Beyer says: "When I made the film, I didn't know yet what was in the file kept on me in the offices of the state security. While reading the file, it then occurred to me how out of mostly trifling incidents something is constructed that could possibly become a threat to a person's life. This is also how Volker Braun has written it down... In 1975 Braun had already understood which mechanisms in this apparatus are operating and what disasters they can possibly cause."
-Hans-Gunther Pflaum, Frank Beyer Retrospective, Goethe Institut, 1996.
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