After a breakdown, Rita returns to her childhood village. It is 1961. As she recovers, she remembers the past two years: her love for the chemist Manfred, ten years her senior; his enthusiasm about his new chemical process, which turned to bitter disappointment in the face of rejection; his escape to West Berlin a few weeks before the Wall was built; and his hope that she would follow him. This East German classic, praised by critics as one of Germany’s 100 Most Important Films, is based on Christa Wolf’s internationally-known novel, criticized in the GDR for questioning the construction of the Wall. Produced during a brief cultural thaw in the early 1960s, this film was strongly influenced by French Nouvelle Vague cinema.
DEFA Film Library
User Reviews: Having seen two Konrad Wolf films set in WW2 ("Stars" and "I Was Nineteen", I was keen to see more of his work. I wish I hadn’t bothered with this one, and can’t explain why I sat through it to the end. I see it has been voted one of the 100 best German films, which says a lot about German cinema, none of it good. The two major problems are the story and the dialogue. As a voice- over near the end admits, the story is banal. I’ve had experience of life behind the Iron Curtain, so the girl’s decision to split with the man she loved and return to the laughably-named German Democratic Republic made no sense to me. She wasn’t a Communist, she’d seen the way the system treated her friend and fellow student, and she barely bothered to see her mother, so what drew her back? The joy of working in a factory making railway carriages, which was a waste of her intelligence? Lack of courage and imagination ("I’ve always lived in the same town")? What really sinks this film, as Thomas from Berlin points out, is the dreadful dialogue. Since the book is drawn from a Crista Wolf novel, and she helped write the script, I suspect the blame is largely hers. Characters, with the exception of the hero’s father, just don’t talk like human beings. I certainly feel no urge to read any of the lady’s novels.