DEFA Film Library
at the University of Massachusetts Amherst
Cinema of East Germany
Berlin, Divided Heaven: From the Ice Age to the Thaw
Irgendwo in Berlin (Somewhere in Berlin)
Germany (DEFA), b/w, 79 min. English subtitles
Director Gerhard Lamprecht buildt on his successes of the 1920's and 30's with this 1946 film Somewhere in Berlin, his first film after the Second World War. Before the war, he was famous for his socially critical Berlin films, which were based on the popular drawings by Heinrich Zille. Lamprecht brought the world of prostitutes, beggars, and day laborers to the screen.
Somewhere in Berlin is about the everyday people. The film takes place in the ruined landscape of Berlin, in which children play with undetonated bombs and climb around in the rubble. One boy is disappointed with his father, who comes home a broken man from a POW camp. The children convince this weary man to clean and restore his damaged garage, an act which in the end gives him new hope. Lamprecht wanted this story to urge his audience to take similar action.
This film realistically portrays the people of this shattered society with psychological precision. A subplot, the chase after a thief, is reminiscent of Lamprecht's biggest success of the 1930's - the children's film Emil and the Detectives, written by Billy Wilder and based on the Erich Kästner novel. Film historian Lotte Eisner rated Somewhere in Berlin above Germany, Year Zero (1948), an important neo-realist film by Italian filmmaker Roberto Rossellini.
About the Director:
Gerhard Lamprecht was born in Berlin-Tegel on October 6, 1897. He studied art history and theater and eventually worked as an actor, writer, dramatic advisor, and cameraman. He also patented original technical devices. Lamprecht first started working as a producer in 1920, and became later recognized for his production of Thomas Mann's Buddenbrooks. He carried on with his work during the Third Reich and later worked for DEFA. His last production was shot in the West Germany in the 1950s. Lamprecht's success as a movie producer spanned three decades of unique German film history. He died in 1974 in Berlin.
Die Verrufenen (1925), Menschen untereinander (1926), Die Unehelichen (1926), Emil und die Detektive (1931), Irgendwo in Berlin (1946).
Brockmann, Stephen and Frank Trommler, eds. Revisiting Zero Hour 1945. Vol. 1. Washington: American Institute for Contemporary German Studies, 1996.
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