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Der Fall Gleiwitz (The Gleiwitz Case)

1961, b/w, 69 min. Feature
Dir.: Gerhard Klein
Script: Wolfgang Kohlhaase
Camera: Jan Curik, Jan Nemecek
Music: Kurt Schwaen
Cast: Hannjo Jasse, Herwart Grosse, Hilmar Thate, Georg Leopold

35mm, English subtitles - renting information
16mm, English subtitles
- renting information
VHS-NTSC, English subtitles:


Details of the surprise attack by a Nazi unit on the radio station at Gleiwitz on the Polish border in 1939. This attack, which was blamed on Polish forces, served as Hitler's reason for marching into Poland, starting the Second World War. Cool and impartial, the film reflects on the possibilities and techniques of provocation. It shows how facts and opinions can be manipulated and how people are made to accept lies, murder and war. Gerhard Klein and his Czech cameraman Jan Curik found an impressive visual language with which to describe fascism: Groups of people were assembled into ornaments, in which the individual is suppressed by the masses. This enlightening perspective on the fundamentals of totalitarian power and violence met with resistance among the cultural politicians in the German Democratic Republic. The film was accused of glorifying fascism. A leading cultural functionary actually commented that a Nazi director couldn't have made the film better himself. The Gleiwitz narrowly escaped censorship, but quickly disappeared after only a few weeks in theaters. Today, the film is considered one of the most modern and experimental films in DEFA's history.

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