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Die Flucht (The Flight)

1977, color, 94 min., Feature Film

Dir.: Roland Gräf
Script: Hannes Hüttner

Camera: Klaus Neumann
Music: Günther Fischer, with motives from Mussorgski
Cast: Armin Mueller-Stahl, Jenny Gröllmann, Erika Pelikowsky, Wilhelm Koch-Hooge, Karin Gregorek, Simone von Zglincki
DVD PAL; DVD NTSC with English subtitles 


It was a balancing act… We wanted to clarify why people leave and that it is too bad about each person who leaves the country.
 – Roland Gräf, director of The Flight, in Spur der Zeiten

A thrilling drama of love.    
– Mannheim-Heidelberg International Film Festival

A film that starts as a film about social issues and ends as a crime story.    
– Deutsches Historisches Museum

One of Jenny Gröllmann’s most important East German films.    
Berliner Zeitung

Roland Gräf, grapples with this taboo subject in the GDR.
    – Roland Detsch, journalist and author

Roland Gräf is one of the most important DEFA auteurs.    

Festivals / Awards:

2010 MADE IN WEST|EAST GERMANY Film Series, Goethe-Institut Boston
2009 Mannheim-Heidelberg International Film Festival
2001 Divided Heaven Retrospective, Film Archive Austria
1978 Official Selection, Vienna International Film Festival
1978 Grand Prix, Karlovy Vary International Film Festival

When Dr. Schmith’s (Armin Mueller-Stahl) proposal for international research on infant mortality is rejected, he decides to leave East Germany and strikes a deal with an escape agency that promises him a leading position at a children’s hospital in West Germany. But then the decision is reversed: the project is approved and his international colleagues want Dr. Schmith to head the GDR section. Moreover, he falls in love with his new colleague, Katharina (Jenny Gröllmann). Schmith initially tries to ignore the arrangements he made with the escape agency, but they blackmail him. Things soon turn deadly…

As the topic of escaping to the West was taboo in the GDR, The Flight is an exception in East German film history. The film, which won the Grand Prix at the Karoly Vary International Film Festival in 1978, was the last one Armin Mueller-Stahl made at the East German DEFA studios. In 1980, only two years after the release of the film, he left East Germany for the West because of professional restrictions imposed upon him after he joined protests against the expatriation of the dissident singer/songwriter Wolf Biermann.
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