Ernst Barlach in Güstrow

(Ernst Barlach in Güstrow)

GDR, 1987, 27 min, color
In German; English subtitles and voice over
Music (Score)
Production Company


This documentary portrays the life and work of the German expressionist sculptor, graphic artist and dramatist Ernst Barlach (1870-1938). Under the Nazis, Barlach's sculptures of farmers and the poor and elderly were destroyed and/or declared to be "degenerate art;" the artist died before the end of Nazism.


Produced by Studio Camera DDR and commissioned by the GDR Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the film takes us to the Getrudenkapelle museum and Barlach's studio house in the artist’s hometown of Güstrow, where important works are part of the permanent exhibitions. The film also covers GDR efforts to keep the memory of Barlach's work alive, including those of the Kulturbund.


The documentary includes clips from Ralf Kirsten’s The Lost Angel, a DEFA feature film on Ernst Barlach. Banned in 1966, by East German officials who considered it to be “mystical” with “existentialist interpretations of art and power,” it was released in a shortened version in 1971. 



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