Spring Takes Time

(Der Frühling braucht Zeit)

GDR, 1965, 76 min, b&w
In German; English subtitles
Set Design
Costume Design
Music (Score)
Production Company


Was it an act of sabotage or willful negligence? The non-party engineer Heinz Solter is suddenly arrested and accused of approving a defective pipeline that caused a half million loss to his company. At first, the case seems clear-cut for the state prosecutor, but when he probes deeper, he discovers that Solter had acted against his better judgment due to the pressure from his career-driven and authoritarian boss.


The film, based on an actual crime case, was banned shortly after its release for its critical examination of the problems of a planned economy and the extremely stylized avant-garde imagery. The scathing criticism unintentionally complemented the film by accusing it of stylistic affinities to Antonioni and Fellini.


The DVD also includes Monolog for a Taxi Driver (GDR, TV, 1962, dir. Günter Stahnke). Officials labeled the short written by Günter Kunert as Kafkaesque and banned it in 1962. 


1990 FIPRESCI Prize – Honorable Mention, Forum of New Cinema, Berlin International Film Festival
1990 Interfilm Award – Honorable Mention, Forum of New Cinema, Berlin International Film Festival

Press comments

“The film is reminiscent in subject matter to the Czechoslovakian film Obžalovaný (Defendant) by Ján Kadár and Elmar Klos.”
— Der Spiegel, 1990


“The stark, expressionistic arrangements in impersonal and indistinctive interiors created an austere, filmic appeal that departed from the narrative conventions of the time.”
— Günter Agde, film historian


“The film shed a critical light on the New Economic System and its fixation on production quotas.”
— Sabine Hake, German National Cinema


“A film that touched too closely on the contradictions inherent in implementing the New Economic System [in the GDR].”
— DEFA: East German Cinema 1946-1992


“Stahnke’s narration makes clear that it’s not an individual case, rather—using a certain stylistic aesthetic—a general one. The director has people act in front of white walls, shows the alienation, misunderstandings, and the camera emphasizes the distant relationships. Using an anti-psychological script, he uncovers defects in communication.”
— Rolf Richter, Berliner Rundfunk


Buy the DVDStream
DVD Bonus Features:
  • New digitally restored transfer
  • Biographies & Filmographies
  • Günter Stahnke on His Film, 2014, 12 min.
  • “Synonym and Signal,” by Detlef Kannapin, film historian
  • “Constructive Stylization,” by Annette Dorgerloh, Humboldt University Berlin
  • “The Late Spring,” by Dieter Wolf, former head of artistic group Babelsberg
  • Original Posters (1965 and 1990)
  • Gallery of Sketches. Courtesy of Georg Kranz, set designer.
  • Monolog for a Taxi Driver (GDR, 1962, dir. Günter Stahnke, 37 min, script: Günter Kunert, 37 min, B&W, TV, English subtitles)

Shibboleth login