The Second Track

(Das zweite Gleis)

GDR, 1962, 80 min, b&w
In German; English subtitles
Set Design
Costume Design
Music (Score)


Station Inspector Brock witnesses a robbery. When he fails to report one of the culprits, he starts experiencing flashbacks of his earlier failure to take a stand against Nazi persecutions. Remarkably expressive images and black and white photography intensify this story about guilt, repression and oblivion and make this film a true discovery.


The Second Track 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. It is the only East German film to explore the theme of former Nazis leading normal lives in the GDR – something authorities said only took place in West Germany. This sensitive subject matter was one reason why the film was rarely shown in East German theaters.

Press comments

"Remarkably expressive images and black and white photography intensify a story about guilt, repression and oblivion, making this film a true discovery."
— The Museum of Modern Art


"In this film the production team broke new ground with the formal aspect and the avant-garde direction of their work."
— Ralf Schenk, film Historian


"A radical film."
— Erika Richter, film journalist


"The film is a landmark for its frank portrayal of East German complicity in Nazi crimes, but also for canted shots used for psychological effects. Uncanny touches, such as lightly suggested incest, borrow from the vernacular of Hollywood's subversive Europeans: Sirk, Preminger, Wilder."
The Boston Phoenix


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


Buy the DVDStream
DVD Bonus Features:
  • Turn Subtitles On/Off
  • Biographies & Filmographies
  • Film Portrait of Cinematographer Rolf Sohre (2002)
  • Photo Gallery
  • Introductory Essay by Ralf Schenk

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