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Blumen für den Mann im Mond (Flowers for the Man in the Moon)

1975, East Germany, 84 minutes, color
Director: Rolf Losansky
Screenplay: Rolf Losansky
Director of Photography: Helmut Grewald
Music: Peter Gotthardt
Actors: Jutta Wachowiak (Mother Ledermann), Stefan Lisewski (Father Ledermann), Dieter Franke (Kondensmaxe), Annemone Haase (Professor Vitamin), Gerhard Bienert (Grandfather Sielaff), Sven Grothe (Adam), Astrid Heinze (Evchen), Dirk Förster (Manni), Yvonne Dießner (Susi), Ronald Schwarz (Egon), Carl Heinz Choynski (Faktotum), Evamaria Bath (Gertrud), Carmen-Maja Antoni (Maja), Ralf Schlösser (Ralf), Günter Grabbert (Voice of the Moon)
VHS-PAL, no subtitles - renting information


The film begins with Adam, Evchen, and Manni looking at the moon through their home-made telescope.  Evchen isn't interested, and dismisses the moon as a lump of cheese.  Manni, who is a big fan of technology, sees satellites and a car driving over the moon's surface.  But Adam hears the moon speak, and hears it ask for flowers to cover its surface.  From then on, Adam is determined to breed a kind of flower that can grow on the moon.  Although he is made fun of at school and is yelled at by his father, who develops extra-nutritious vegetables for Professor Vitamin, Adam keeps trying.

Eventually things take a positive turn.  Kondensmaxe, in his airplane, finds Professor Vitamin's old magic greenhouse.  It turns out the Professor was herself concerned with developing such a flower, before the war, and is willing to assist Adam in his research.  Manni and Evchen support him every step of the way, and so does Adam's grandfather.  Eventually Adam's mother even convinces her husband to assist the children as well, although he believes that flowers are something "for poets and women."  Even he is finally persuaded to abandon the purely useful for the extraordinarily beautiful.   

What is particularly charming about this movie is the magic found in the every-day.  The clips of growing flowers seem just as magical as the idea of a flower on the moon.  The university seen from the perspective of a child is just as impressive as the bewitched greenhouse in the middle of the woods.  Suddenly anything is possible.  The happy message of the film is to fight for what you believe in, as Adam does.  That Adam convinces skeptics to help him is almost more important than the successful development of the moon flower.

Blumen für den Mann im Mond celebrates the "poetry of the everyday," as Ingelore König, Dieter Wiedemann, and Lothar Wolf wrote in Zwischen Marx und Muck: DEFA-Filme für Kinder.  Upon the film's release, critics praised not only the children for their natural acting (and director Rolf Losansky for his excellent directing of children), but also the filmmakers for their seamless integration of fantasy into reality. 

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Jessica Hale