Taking Stock of the Wende on Screen: Michael Klier’s Ostkreuz (1991) and Hannes Stöhr’s Berlin is in Germany (2001)

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    Abstract

    Wolfgang Becker’s Good Bye Lenin! (2003) has arguably been the most successful of films dealing with the ramifications of the GDR’s demise, but it is by no means the only one. The focus here is on two less well-known films which provide alternative perspectives to Becker’s more commercial film, exploring in gritty detail the difficult adjustments that many eastern Germans had to make. In Ostkreuz (1991), Michael Klier tells the episodic story of 14-year-old Elfie, who literally and metaphorically inhabits a no-man’s-land between the two Germanys during the Wende, and deploys a neorealist aesthetic to reinforce the difficulties confronting the girl, and by inference, Germany. Hannes Stöhr’s Berlin is in Germany (2001) is less bleak, but is told from the perspective of Martin Schulz, jailed in East Germany in 1989 and released eleven years later into the Federal Republic. The film follows his attempts to rebuild his life, and especially to forge a relationship with the son he has never seen. Both set in Berlin, these films complement one another in examining Germany’s progress since 1989 and offer a useful contrast to Becker’s film
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)60-75
    JournalGerman as a Foreign Language
    Issue number1
    Publication statusPublished - 2006

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