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Berlin um die Ecke (Berlin Around the Corner)

1965 (1990), East Germany (DEFA), b/w, 82 min.
Dir.: Gerhard Klein
Script: Wolfgang Kohlhaase
Camera: Peter Krause
Editing: Evelyn Carow
Music: Goerg Katzer
Cast: Dieter Mann, Monika Gabriel, Erwin Geschonneck, Hans Hardt-Hardtloff
16mm, English subtitles - renting information
VHS-NTSC, English subtitles - renting information


After Gerhard Klein and Wolfgang Kohlhaase enjoyed such huge successes with their "Berlin Trilogy:" Alarm at the Circus (Alarm im Zirkus), A Berlin Romance (Eine Berliner Romanze), and Berlin - Schönhauser Corner (Berlin - Ecke Schönhauser); they embarked on bringing a new idea to life, which was to be called Berlin: Chapter IV. This time they depicted young people in the divided metropolis of Berlin - their feelings about life, their moral attitudes, their work, and their loves.

The Wall was by now a stark reality. Kohlhaase says, "We thought it had to be possible from that time on to talk all the more earnestly and openly about our own contradictions." The author broadened his range of characters considerably, giving equal importance to young and old. There is a shocking scene in which a young worker tried to beat up an old functionary in a dark corridor. The inner world of the protagonists was believable, and the basic tone was of an almost excruciating honesty. There was passion among the old men, recalcitrance among the young men, and a chasm between the generations.

Kohlhaase successfully translated these awesome problems into an exciting story, avoiding didactic aspects and honing the scenes, not missing the Berlin dialect. It was an art of story telling that seemed so easy and effortless, offering a rare and real chance to captivate viewers of all ages with a working-class theme.

Most unfortunate was the fate of this film shared with the other "Rabbit films" - it was banned in 1965/66.  

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