DEFA Film Library
at the University of Massachusetts Amherst
Cinema of East Germany
Raus aus der Haut
To high school kids in East German provinces, the Baader-Meinhof terrorists of West Germany are part of the contraband excitement smuggled in via magazines and comics. Dresen’s closely observed and hilariously paced comedy/drama Changing Skins shows how quickly a prank can become a crime.
The scene is East Germany in 1977, during the famous RAF kidnapping of industrialist Hanns Martin Schleyer in West Germany. Marcus is madly in love with his classmate Anna. Anna, however, is more attracted to Randy, who plays in a rock band. It would have to be in the school’s dogmatic principal, Rottmann, who discovers Anna has magazines with articles on the RAF terrorists. Now Rottmann will never allow Anna to qualify for university admission. Normally, Marcus would never be such a risk taker but, because it was Anna’s idea … they kidnap Rottmann.
About the Director:
Andreas Dresen is one of the most successful contemporary German filmmakers whose career began as the Berlin Wall was crumbling. His recent Grill Point (2001) was an audience favorite at the 2002 Berlin Film Festival, with its breakthrough use of caste improvisation to replace a script. Night Shapes (1998) too earned critical acclaim as a slice-of-life look at the Berlin of today. Dresen’s first feature Silent Country (1992) was set in the East German provinces, like Changing Skins, where historic events seem wistfully far away. An eager youth theater director tries to stage Waiting for Godot in a run-down, small-town theater with a cast of cynics and drunks. Dresen was born in Gera, East Germany, in 1963. He initially worked as a sound engineer for the Schwerin Theater; he studied directing at the “Konrad Wolf” Academy of Film and Television in Potsdam-Babelsberg and began working as a screenwriter and director in 1992. A member of the Academy of Arts Berlin-Brandenburg since 1998, he received the Andrzej Wajda / Philip Morris Freedom Prize in 2002. Presently lives in Potsdam.
“Andreas Dresen’s films open a window into the
hearts and minds of everyday people facing-yet not always surmounting-life’s
challenges. Like Andrzej Wajda, Dresen consistently portrays the human condition
with honest insight and compassion.”
Other films by Andreas
Dresen are available from Goethe-Institut New York
2000 – The Policewoman
(Die Polizistin, Adolf Grimme Award in Gold and the German Camera Award)
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