Director Ulrich Weiß
trained at the Academy for Film and Television in Potsdam-Babelsberg.
He started at the DEFA Studio for Documentary Films and then joined the
Feature Film Studio. After making a children’s film, Tambari (1976), he planned Tanz
a film about East Germany in the 1950s. The studio management rejected
this script, however, as well as many others in the following years.
Even the films that he was allowed to make—such as the story of a
resistance fighter in 1935, Your Unknown Brother (1981), and a film about a
professional boxer after WWII, Olle Henry
(1983), which received international praise—were met with indignation
by East German officials. After the Wall came down, Weiß
(1991), a project over ten years in the planning, which is part of the WENDE
I can’t manage to render a
STATEMENT on the fall of the Berlin Wall.
it a turning point that led to German unity?
Or to re-unification?
Was it a revolution, a peaceful one?
Or was it a restoration? And, if so, what was restored?
In 1989 and since.
years earlier, in 1789, began the French
It wrote liberty, equality, fraternity on its banners.
It spread liberty spread over all of Europe—thanks to
Fraternity too? What about equality? In a war?
Those who came up short in the distribution, the poor, sought their
They settled on Native American land and brought liberty along.
Liberty for whom?
Did they also bring equality and fraternity?
The European proletarian revolution after WWI strove for
But how was it with liberty and fraternity?
Does optimizing one involve diminishing the other?
Can unison emerge from the triad that sounds so promising in French:
For a moment, it seemed believable when the borders opened in Germany.
the people” became “We
are one people” and “Germany, united
And then soon: “We
were the people.”
“We had been the people.”
“Had we been the
(If you emphasize a different word every time, it shifts the meaning of
the whole. Try it.)
The Cold War, which followed closely upon the hot one, left its
the destruction of the language, the loss of the ability to make
understood in it without enduring misunderstandings. Texts lost their
contexts their texts.
Language confusion. Language delusion. Language distortion.
Twenty years later the first attempts to rediscover it, the language.
might almost wish to go back two and
when people strolled in Greece’s flourishing landscapes
and began to reflect on thinking. And on how it could be expressed.
Someone who makes films, cinematography, might ask:
“Does everything move
based on the images?”
morning I read the paper:
“Snacking without a calorie
counter: Researchers puzzle over chocolate of the future.”
“Tower of Bremen: For
3 weeks Bremen will be the world capital of languages.”
“Obama wants stricter
we should invent a new language.
After we have strolled in our groves, where we will have once again
reflected on our thinking.
Ulrich Weiβ, September 14, 2009
October 2009 Issue
Schulz, DEFA Film Library