Berlinale: Programme


Film file

Retrospective

Spur der Steine

Trace of Stones

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Bad planning and shortages prevail on an East German construction site. Foreman Hannes Balla uses unconventional methods to overcome the problems. New Socialist Unity Party secretary Werner Horrath is charged with bringing the rough-and-ready builder crew into line. The task seems doomed to fail as the two men compete for the affections of young engineer Kati Klee. But when she gets pregnant by married man Horrath, he is in danger of being expelled from the party, and Balla takes his side … Anarchy strikes a planned economy. Borrowing from John Sturges’ western The Magnificient Seven (1960), the film uses the arresting wide-screen Totalvision process to illustrate how the joint ‘(re)construction’ efforts of two morally dubious outsiders evade the party apparatus. In 1966, Hans Helmut Prinzler said, “no DEFA film has ever shown the workings of the Party, with all its contradictions, quite so critically”. The movie was received positively at the 1966 Workers’ Festival in East Germany, but its theatrical premiere shortly thereafter fell victim to a staged scandal and, after further directed ‘protests’, it was banned for “anti-socialist tendencies” and not shown again until November 1989.

Germany (GDR 1949 to 1990) 1965/1966, 134 min

by

Frank Beyer

with

Manfred Krug
Krystyna Stypułkowska
Eberhard Esche
Johannes Wieke