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Berlin, Divided Heaven: From the Ice Age to the Thaw
Touring Film Series

When the Wall Came Tumbling Down - 50 Hours that Changed the World
(Als die Mauer fiel - 50 Stunden, die die Welt veränderten)

1999, Germany, color, 89 min. English subtitles and English voiceover
Dir: Hans-Hermann Hertle, Gunter Scholz
Co-production of Cine Impuls KG with ARD, SFB, NDR, SWR, DW

VHS-NTSC, English subtitles:

Synopsis:

Berlin, November 9th, 1989. Thousands of people break through the border checkpoints of the divided city. The "death strip" has lost its horror. East and West Berliners are dancing on the Wall and chip it away with hammers and chisels throughout the night. The most famous symbol of the Cold War is crumbling as the world watches on live television. It was a party on very explosive ground. Behind the scenes, at all levels of power, frantic diplomatic and military maneuvers were taking place. The East German government and its ministries for national defense and state security; the headquarters of the Soviet forces in East Germany; the Allied forces in West Berlin and the governments in Moscow, London, Paris, Washington, as well as in Bonn - all were caught off-guard by the events that unfolded that day.

Using some never-before-seen footage, this compelling documentary shows what really happened during those perilous, pivotal hours. General Secretary Gorbachev and President Bush; the French and the British governments; Chancellor Kohl and General Secretary Krenz; foreign secretaries, ministers, and high-ranking officers from both sides (some heard speaking out for the first time), along with journalists such as NBC correspondent Tom Brokaw, describe what happened behind the scenes. This unfolding historical drama is counterbalanced by the celebration in the streets as Berliners from East and West tell of moving experiences - sometimes amusing, sometimes painful - that shaped their destiny. All perspectives are joined beautifully in this remarkable film detailing those 50 momentous hours that changed the world. Thoroughly researched, beautifully crafted, this is one of the best documentaries on the fall of the Berlin Wall yet to emerge.

About the Directors:

Gunther Scholz was born in Görlitz (Saxony) in 1944. In 1973 he became a director at DEFA Studios. Beginning in 1991, he worked as a freelance writer and director for television series and documentaries (ARD, ZDF, SAT 1, RTL). Together with Hans Hermann-Hertle, at the Berlin Film Festival in 1998 Scholz received the Friedrich-Wilhelm-Murnau-Short Film Prize for Einschub in den Bericht des Politbüros (A Little Addendum).

Major Films: 

Ein April hat 30 Tage (1978), Licht der Liebe (1980), Der dicke Lipinski (1984), Ab heute erwachsen (1985), Hermann Henselmann. Architekt, Jahrgang 1905 (1986), Vernehmung der Zeugen (1987), Es war einmal ein Mittwoch (1988), Das war die DDR: Teil III (1994), Einschub in den Bericht des Politbüros (1998), Als die Mauer fiel (1999).

Hans Hermann-Hertle was born in Eisern/Siegen in 1956. He studied history and political science in Marburg and Berlin; he completed his dissertation in 1996 at the Freie Universität in Berlin. Hermann-Hertle is an historian, social scientist, and author. Together with Gunther Scholz, he received the Friedrich-Wilhelm-Murnau-Short Film Prize at the Berlin Film Festival in 1998 for the documentary Einschub in den Bericht des Politbüros (A Little Addendum).

Major Films: 

Einschub in den Bericht des Politbüros (1998), Als die Mauer fiel (1999).

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