Berlinale: Programme

Film file

Berlinale Classics

Schwarzer Kies

Black Gravel

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The film is set in rural Germany in 1960, where the construction of a US airbase triggers a thriving black market and prostitution. Robert Neidhardt, who provides gravel for runway paving to the Americans, also uses his truck for illegal activities. During a tour, he accidently runs over an American soldier and the soldier’s girlfriend ... This thriller has been directed in a demonstratively (neo)realistic style, presenting a critical view of post-war WestGerman society. Helmut Käutner’s intent was to depict the “danger of neo-Nazi and anti-Semitic currents” and it opened at a time when audiences had been sensitised by the Adolf Eichmann trial. The chairman of Germany’s Central Council of Jews filed a criminal complaint of defamation. Käutner then edited out scenes containing Jewish references, as well as the “original ending, in which Neidhardt lies next to the dead body of his ex-lover Inge Gaines and buries himself in gravel. In the re-edited version, Inge lives and stays with her husband, while Robert flees to Luxembourg in a panic” (Jeanpaul Goergen, 2011). – World premiere of the digitally restored original version in 2K DCP.

Helmut Käutner

Federal Republic of Germany 1961


117 min · Black/White · 2K DCP

Digital version 2016

Rating R18


Helmut Wildt
Ingmar Zeisberg
Hans Cossy
Wolfgang Büttner
Anita Höfer
Heinrich Trimbur
Edeltraut Elsner
Peter Nestler
Ernst Jacobi


Helmut Käutner
Helmut Käutner, Walter Ulbrich
Director of Photography
Heinz Pehlke
Klaus Dudenhöfer
Bernhard Eichhorn
Heinz Garbowski
Set Construction
Gabriel Pellon
Wardrobe Supervision
Walter Schreckling, Elisabeth Daum
Friedrich Havenstein, Sabine Brodt
Walter Ulbrich

Produced by

Universum Film AG (Ufa)
Berlin, Germany

DCP: Friedrich-Wilhelm-Murnau-Stiftung, Wiesbaden