Good-bye Lenin! -- the two films that open at New York City's Film Forum for a two-week run this Wednesday make the GDR seem one of the prime horror haunts of our 20th-Century world.
The main attraction is the full-length documentary, KARL MARX CITY, by Petra Epperlein and Michael Tucker both of whom gave us the fine docs Gunner Palace and How to Fold a Flag, in which Ms Epperlein (shown at left, and below, right, with Mr. Tucker) investigates her own and her family's past in the GDR, a country in which, it turns out, one out of three people were spying on the other two.
The Lives of Others that detailed the work of the GDR's secret police agency, the Stasi, you'll have immediate entry into this world (though the documentary rather firmly discredits that movie's major plot point, as well as one of its main characters). As more and more of the Stasi's records become available for former East Germsns to view, Petterlein visits her family and the former Stasi headquarters on a mission to learn why her father committed suicide. Had he, as she suspects, worked as a Stasi informant?
Bond/360 and running just 89 minutes, the documentary opens this Wednesday, March 29, at Film Forum in New York City for a two- week run.
BROKEN--the Women's Prison at Hoheneck titled Kaputt in the original German) -- featuring relatively simple line drawings with shadings that accompany a narration that talks about what it was like to be a prisoner in this infamous jail in the GDR. Both the narration and animation could hardly be simpler or more compact, and yet the overall effect is quietly horrifying. We learn of conditions in the overcrowded prison, the sanitary habits of the inmates, and most especially of the forced labor the women endured -- to sew items that were then sold in West Germany, the money from which helped keep the always near-bankrupt state of East Germany afloat.
Alexander Lahl and Volker Schlecht (with artwork and animation by Schlecht) and written by Lahl and Max Moench, this is a film I'd suggest seeing after Karl Marx City, rather than before, if possible.