(Die Beunruhigung)

GDR, 1981, 96 min, b&w
In German; English subtitles
Set Design
Costume Design
Music (Score)


Inge (Christine Schorn) is an attractive and independent divorcée with a teenage son. She works as a psychologist and has a relationship with a married man. But after a routine check-up, Inge receives an unexpected call from her doctor. She learns that she may have a malignant lump in her breast and must have a biopsy the following day. Over the next 24 hours, the specter of the final diagnosis looms over Inge. Under this enormous psychological pressure, she reevaluates her relationships and her life.


With a powerful, semi-autobiographical script by Helga Schubert, Apprehension is considered by critics to be East Germany’s greatest women's film. Cameraman Thomas Plenert, noted for his documentaries (Winter AdéThe Wall), included black-and-white images of East Berlin life in this low-budget feature film shot exclusively on location and with a cast largely made up of lay actors. The film was seen as an experiment, but turned into a box-office hit.



1983 Filmex, Los Angeles
1982 Nominated for Golden Lion, Venice Film Festival


Press comments

“Christine Schorn's performance is memorable!” —Ron Holloway, 1983 Filmex, Los Angeles


“The film rates as one of the best pics of the season emerging from East Germany. It is another contemporary view of East German life and times. […] Warneke follows the lead throughout a day, as in Agnes Varda’s well-known Cleo From 5 to 7 (1962). […] An intelligently narrated and professionally acted film. […] This film tells more about the GDR in a behind-the scenes manner than one ordinarily expects of socialist cinema.” —Variety


“Shot in black and white, cinéma vérité in style and intensely downplayed in tone, Apprehension offers a panorama of Berlin as seen through the eyes of a woman facing possible death. Like Agnes Varda’s well-known Cleo From 5 to 7 (1962), Apprehenstion is a day-long chronicle of a woman as she confronts the possibility of cancer. In the lead role Christine Schorn shows remarkable ability to express the deepest fears with subtle movements of her eyes, body and hesitations of speech.”

—The American Film Institute


“One of the most important DEFA films of its time.” —The Concise Cinegraph: An Encyclopedia of German Cinema


“The film is a DEFA gem! Close to reality and psychologically balanced.” —Cinema


“Partly improvised and using lay actors, this low-budget film was shot on location and was seen as an experiment, one that was nevertheless watched by 4.3 million cinemagoers in East Germany. Six months later it was also released in West Germany.”     —2014 Hamburg Film Festival


“The film’s sensitive directing is captivating!” —Lexikon des Internationalen Films


Buy the DVDStream
DVD Bonus Features:

New digitally restored transfer

Biographies & Filmographies

“Dealing with Cancer, Dealing with Love: Power and Hierarchies in the GDR Medical System,” by Sonja E. Klocke, University of Wisconcin

“Letting Reality Speak,” director Lothar Warneke in conversation with film historian Erika Richter

“From Scenario to Film,” by film historian Erika Richter

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