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Das zweite Gleis (The Second Track)

Director: Joachim Kunert, 1962, 80 min., b/w
Cinematography: Rolf Sohre
Screenplay: Günter Kunert / Joachim Kunert
Cast: Albert Hetterle, Annekathrin Bürger, Horst Jonischkan, Walter Richter-Reinick
35mm, English subtitles
- renting information

Synopsis:

Station Inspector Brock is witness to a robbery. When he fails to report one of the culprits, he experiences flashbacks of his earlier failure to take a stand against Nazi persecutions years ago. The Second Track is the only East German film which explores the theme of former Nazis leading normal lives in the GDR. This sensitive subject matter was one reason why the film was rarely shown in theaters. Remarkably expressive images and black and white photography intensify a story about guilt, repression and oblivion, making this film a true discovery.

“An idiosyncratic film … the cinematographic narrative mode engenders an immense and ultimately unsettling impact.”
– Erika Richter, Film und Fernsehen

About the Director:

Joachim Kunert was born in Berlin in 1929. He worked as a director of DEFA newsreels and documentaries from 1954–1955 and of feature films until 1970. Kunert moved to television then where he worked until his retirement in 1990. He belonged to the so-called “second generation” of DEFA filmmakers, characterized by a worldview primarily shaped by the East German experience. Kunert tried to address taboo topics in his films. He succeeded with the film The Adventures of Werner Holt (1964), which focused on WWII and the unspoken past of his father’s generation. The Second Track (1962), dealing with traces of the Nazi era in 1960s East Germany, gained no recognition until its recent critical rediscovery. This film was his second collaboration with the author Günter Kunert, president of the German P.E.N.

 

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