Solo Sunny

(Solo Sunny)

GDR, 1979, 102 min, color
In German; English subtitles
Set Design
Costume Design
Music (Score)
Music (Performance)


Sunny (Renate Krößner, Go for Zucker), an aspiring singer, longs for fulfillment and to be recognized as someone special. She gets kicked out of her band, but starts over in the "underground" scene of East Berlin's Prenzlauer Berg. In this film, which is based on a true story, Konrad Wolf and Wolfgang Kohlhaase addressed the longings and frustrations of East German youth.


This smash hit and huge box office success is ranked by film critics among the 100 Most Significant German Films of all time. Solo Sunny also artfully captures the East German "70's style" in its gritty-glitzy visuals and its catchy soundtrack.


Its success promised a youthful renewal in DEFA, yet two "discoveries" among its youth talent—star Renate Krößner and cinematographer Eberhard Geick—soon felt compelled to pursue their careers in the West.


2023 Retrospective Six Decades – Six Iconic Films, Hong Kong
2020 Retrospective Beyond the Wall: East German Cinema, Entrevues Belfort International Film Festival, France
2020 Konrad Wolf in the Age of Extremes retrospective, Il Cinema Ritrovato, Bologna, Italy
2018 Images of the Future: The Cinema of East Germany, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
2010 Shown at the Berlin International Film Festival, Homage to Wolfgang Kohlhaase
1981 Best Contemporary Film of the Year 1980, Critics' Poll of the Theory and Criticism Section of the GDR Association of Film and Television Professionals
1980 Silver Bear for Best Actress (Renate Krößner), Berlin International Film Festival
1980 FIPRESCI Critics' Prize, Berlin International Film Festival
1980 Gold Plaque for Best Script (Konrad Wolf and Wolfgang Kohlhaase), Chicago International Film Festival
1980 Best Actress (Renate Krößner), GDR National Feature Film Festival, Karl-Marx-Stadt
1980 Best Director (Konrad Wolf and Wolfgang Kohlhaase), GDR National Feature Film Festival, Karl-Marx-Stadt
1980 Best Cinematography (Eberhard Geick), GDR National Feature Film Festival, Karl-Marx-Stadt
1980 Best Editor (Evelyn Carow), GDR National Feature Film Festival, Karl-Marx-Stadt
1980 Best Score (Günther Fischer), GDR National Feature Film Festival, Karl-Marx-Stadt
1980 Best Set Design (Alfred Hirschmeier), GDR National Feature Film Festival, Karl-Marx-Stadt
1980 Best Supporting Actress (Heide Kipp), GDR National Feature Film Festival, Karl-Marx-Stadt
1980 Best Supporting Actor (Dieter Montag), GDR National Feature Film Festival, Karl-Marx-Stadt

Press comments

Solo Sunny is significant not only within the director’s oeuvre, but also in the history of DEFA film as a whole. It marks both a generic breakthrough for a director otherwise better known for his antifascist films of the Second World War, and also the tail end of a group of late-1960s and 1970s DEFA woman’s films, and the last gasp of the final brief period of liberal cultural policy in the GDR at the end of the 1970s.” —Larson Powell, “The Desire to be Dired? Solo Sunny as Socialist Woman’s Film,” Gender and Sexuality in East German Film: Intimacy and Alienation


“Critical and refreshing, entertaining!”


“An energetic script and plentiful views of Berlin.”
The New York Times


“Magnificent cinematography, very good acting and catchy music.”
— Maria Ulfsak, FIPRESCI


“SOLO SUNNY was widely regarded at the time of its 1980 release as perhaps the best film to come out of East Germany, and, with the passing of time, that ‘perhaps’ might safely be removed.”
— Dave Kehr, The New York Times


“Competing today, it would be the best indie film of the year.”
— 2005 Berlin Film Festival 


“A compellingly intimate DEFA woman’s film from the late 70s by two creative personalities (Wolf and Kohlhaase) central to GDR cinema, Solo Sunny (starring Renate Krößner — suberb) is distinguished by its earnest directness, crown-pleasing humor, and low-key realism based on scrupulous research, making for fascinating comparison with the camp decadence, sophisticated irony, and self-conscious cinephilia of Fassbinder’s lavishly stylized melodramas on the other side of the all, while opening a window onto the private yearnings of nonconformist East German youth at the time against their oppressive environs, from dreary provincial towns to Berlin’s Prenzlauer Berg, with its distinctive unconventional bohemia milieu.”   —Dr. Derek Lam, film scholar, University of Hong Kong, retrospective Six Decades – Six Iconic Films, 2023


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