Germany, 1992, 87 min, color
In German; English subtitles
Set Design
Costume Design
Music (Performance)


The little East German town of Herzsprung, in the middle of nowhere, shortly after German unification in 1990. Johanna, a young mother who becomes a widow and loses her job, is a victim of the general economic collapse. Eventually, she falls in love with a stranger who is new to the town. People notice the couple, some refuse to accept their relationship and racism and resentment lead to a dramatic escalation of events. Herzsprung was the last film produced at the DEFA Studios before they were closed in 1992.


This film contains harmful and offensive racist language and imagery used by neo-Nazi characters. We have decided to subtitle the term they use for a Black person in this way: [n-word]. We also acknowledge the slurs that refer to women, as well as people of Polish descent.  —DEFA Film Library, 2021


2024 Retrospective, Berlin Int. Film Festival, Germany
2021 Retrospective POESÍA DE LO COTIDIANO: Los primeros films de Helke Misselwitz, Mar del Plata Int. Film Festival, Argentina
2021 Retrospective Everyday Poetry: The Films of Helke Misselwitz, Anthology Film Archives, New York
2021 What We Were Filming: East German Perspectives of Female Directors, International Frauen Film Fest, Cologne and Dortmund, Germany
2009 Wende Flicks: Last Films from East Germany, Los Angeles, USA
1993 Official Selection, Berlin International Film Festival, Germany
1993 German Film Award nominee
1993 Bozen Film Days, Italy
1992 Special Mention, Debut Feature Film, San Sebastian International Film Festival, Spain
1992 Hof International Film Days, Germany

Press comments


"Thomas Plenert “pushes the limits of what you can do with a camera, sometimes pushing it over the edge. […] The use of color is interesting, especially in the final scene, and in the nightclub scenes, where the use of color approaches the work of Luciano Tovoli in Dario Argento’s Suspiria.” —Jim Morton, eastgermancinema.com


Herzsprung displayed a keen feel for the mood during unification’s radical social upheavals, as well as a sense of historical consciousness. As one of very few East German contemporary films, it was – aesthetically, feminist, inter-cultural – completely in tune with its time. Consciously playing on “ostalgia”, it employed eastern European songs from “Russian discos” and references to motifs from old DEFA fairy tale films.”   —Berlin Int. Film Festival, 2024


“Misselwitz’s strong female characters appear authentic because they contain contradictions. They are self-confident, emotional, traumatized, weak but nonetheless brave and resilient. They act based on authentic, self-determined will, even when they make themselves vulnerable or fail.” —Therese Koppe, International Frauen Film Fest, Cologne and Dortmund


“A humorous yet sensitive treatment of dead-end lives.” —San Sebastian Film Festival


“A beautiful, whimsical and at times magical film about love, longing and racism.” —Goethe-Institut Montreal


“One of the few German films to deal with contemporary political and social issues shortly after the political Wende in East Germamy.” —film-zeit.de


“Images, photographed by Thomas Plenert, the likes of which have not been seen in German film for a long time.” —Berliner Zeitung


Buy the DVDStream
DVD Bonus Features:
  • Turn Subtitles On/Off
  • Biographies & Filmographies
  • Introductory Essay by Kraft Wetzel
  • Written Interviews with Helke Misselwitz and Thomas Wilkening
  • Original On-Location Photos by Helga Paris
  • WENDE FLICKS Series Trailer
  • About The Wende Museum

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