The Rabbit Is Me

(Das Kaninchen bin ich)

GDR, 1965, 109 min, b&w
In German; English subtitles
Set Design
Costume Design
Music (Score)
Production Company


Maria, a 19-year-old waitress, has an affair with a a much older man. When she learns that he is the judge who had sentenced her brother for subversive activities against the state, she confronts him, accusing him of opportunism and hypocrisy.


The Rabbit Is Me was intended to encourage discussion of the democratization of East German society. A sardonic portrayal of the GDR's judicial system, the film was condemned as an anti-socialist, pessimistic and revisionist attack on the state. Its name was eventually adopted to signify all the banned films of 1965-66, which became known as the "Rabbit Films."


After its re-release in 1990, The Rabbit Is Me earned critical praise as one of the most important and courageous works ever made in East Germany. It was screened at The Museum of Modern Art in 2005 as part of the film series Rebels with a Cause: The Cinema of East Germany.


2018 Images of the Future: The Cinema of East Germany, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
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

"This film has been released at last. It merits attention not least because of its unvarnished search for truth. As for form, Maetzig treads new paths. Until this point, no-one in [East Germany] had ever dealt with stylistic extravaganzas such as flashbacks and inner monologues with equal ease."

— Peter Claus in the Berlin Junge Welt on  March 9, 1990


"The extent of inhumanity and wretchedness that was possible - and normal - in the name of socialism outrages, even a quarter of a century on. By no means a dated film. Today, we still shudder at the reality made apparent in the love story of Maria Morzeck and judge Paul Deister."
— Helmut Ullrich in the Berlin Neue Zeit on March 9, 1990


Buy the DVDStream
DVD Bonus Features:
  • Turn Subtitles On/Off
  • Biographies & Filmographies
  • Introductory Essay Photo Gallery
  • From the Zeitzeugengespräche Series: Interview with Director Kurt Maetzig (1999)
  • Censorship in 1965, Filmed Interview with Hans Bentzien, former GDR Minister of Culture (1993)
  • Banned! (2005)

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