GDR, 1989, 3 min, color
No dialogue
Music (Score)
Production Company
Themes & Genres:


The entire globe is barren; no trace of green remains. A long line of people edges slowly and eagerly forward. Under the strictest security, the people finally manage to get into a museum to view the main attraction: a lone tree.


Richly textured with beautifully detailed character designs and backgrounds, Sunday projects a haunting vision of a desolate future and is an unmistakable warning about the damage being done to the environment.


This short film is available for purchase or streaming as part of the collection Animation Before Unification: 16 Shorts from East Germany.


Although the East German government introduced ambiguous environmental laws as of its founding in 1949, its ideals could not be fulfilled in tandem with the country’s economic growth plans and budget restrictions. Over the next decades, environmental problems increased to such an extent that the government classified all kinds of environmental data as “confidential” in 1972 and “secret” in 1982. At the end of the 1970s, the first grassroots environmental groups were founded, and the growing ecological movement became critical in drawing public attention to increasingly disastrous environmental problems. The activities of these groups were closely watched, infiltrated or stopped by the Stasi. In 1986, the Chernobyl nuclear disaster and the founding of the East Berlin Umweltbibliothek were turning points in the increasingly political environmental movement, which became a crucial player during the peaceful revolution of 1989. 


The DEFA Studios produced many environmental films that followed the official party line. However, the growing public environmental awareness was also reflected in some films. Several documentaries, animation and feature films touched on environmental issues and questioned the officially promoted environmental situation. These films, especially the animation films, are sharp and satirical discussion of taboo topics, including forest damage and air and water pollution. Other films deal critically with problems caused by brown coal mining, including the resettling of villages. But these film projects were a red flag for the studio officials, and scripts and rough cuts went through extensive and complicated approvals.


Richly textured with beautifully detailed character designs and backgrounds, Sunday projects a haunting vision of a barren future and is an unmistakable warning about the damage being done to the environment.


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