Three Films about 11/9

berlinwall.jpgBriefly, three German films to celebrate the 20th anniversary of 11/9/89.

First, The Tunnel (Der Tunnel), a TV film first broadcast in 2001, about a group of young people trying to leave East Berlin.  Some make it across just as the Wall is going up in 1961, others not until the escapees have built a secret tunnel from West to East.  One of the highlights is the role of the American media in financing the final effort in exchange for exclusive coverage.

Second, What to Do in Case of Fire? (Was Tun, Wenn's Brennt?), another 2001 film that takes a comedic look at the West Berlin neighborhood of Kreuzberg, which in the late 1980s was a hotbed of anti-Western radicalism and anarchism nestled next to the Wall.  (Not far away on the other side was Prenzlaeur Berg, home of many nonconformist East Berliners.  If someone makes a film about these two mirror-image neighborhoods, please let me know!)

The film begins with a flashback to a group of Kreuzberg radicals battling the police in the spirit of punk rock and anarchism, a sequence that ends with some of them rigging a bomb to explode in an abandoned villa in Grunewald.

But the bomb fails to detonate, and the film then flashes forward 12 years, when the bomb is accidentally set off by a real estate broker showing the property to a West German plutocrat.  Suddenly the hunt is on for the people who planted the bomb -- wherever they are.  And that is the story: the attempt by a now very disparate group to come together and throw the police off their track.  Because some have accepted the post-'89 world and others have not, the tensions are high and hilariously explored, if not finally well resolved.  Indeed, the last line is the group's answer to the question posed in the title: "Let it burn! [Lassen brennan!]."  And needless to say, this rang more appealingly in early 2001 than it did a few months later.

Finally, The Lives of Others (Das Leben der Anderen), a 2006 release about an East German Stasi officer who harsasses a playwright less for reasons of state (not that these are justified) than for reasons of spite (sexual jealousy). This is a superb film for many well known reasons, not the least of which is a truly wonderful ending.
November 9, 2009 10:53 AM | | Comments (0)


Leave a comment


PRC Pop 

The Chinese pop music scene is like no other ...

Remembering Elvis 

The best part of him will never leave the building ...

Beyond Country 

Like all chart categories, "country" is an arbitrary heading under which one finds the ridiculous, the sublime, and everything in between. On the sublime end, a track that I have been listening to over and over for the last six months: Wynnona Judd's version of "She Is His Only Need." The way she sings it, irony is not a color or even a set of contrasting colors; it is iridescence.

Miles the Rock Star? 

Does Miles Davis belong in the Rock 'n' Roll Hall of Fame? Here's my take on his career ...

Essay Contest 

Attention, high school jazz listeners ...

more trax

Me Elsewhere

Edward Hopper 

Painter of light (and darkness) ...

Dissed in Translation 

Here's my best shot at taking Scorcese down a few pegs ...

Henri Rousseau Revisited 

"Henri Rousseau: Jungles in Paris" appeared at the National Gallery of Art in Washington this fall ...

Paul Klee's Art 

Paul Klee was not childish, despite frequent comparisons between his art and that of children...

Our Art Belongs to Dada 

Rent my "Dadioguide" tour of the Dada show (before it moves to MoMA) ...

more picks


About this Entry

This page contains a single entry by Serious Popcorn published on November 9, 2009 10:53 AM.

Long Slog was the previous entry in this blog.

Disassembling the Bomber Crew is the next entry in this blog.

Find recent content on the main index or look in the archives to find all content.

AJ Ads

AJ Blogs

AJBlogCentral | rss

About Last Night
Terry Teachout on the arts in New York City
Artful Manager
Andrew Taylor on the business of arts & culture
blog riley
rock culture approximately
critical difference
Laura Collins-Hughes on arts, culture and coverage
Richard Kessler on arts education
Douglas McLennan's blog
Dog Days
Dalouge Smith advocates for the Arts
Art from the American Outback
Life's a Pitch
For immediate release: the arts are marketable
Mind the Gap
No genre is the new genre
Performance Monkey
David Jays on theatre and dance
Plain English
Paul Levy measures the Angles
Real Clear Arts
Judith H. Dobrzynski on Culture
Rockwell Matters
John Rockwell on the arts
Straight Up |
Jan Herman - arts, media & culture with 'tude

Foot in Mouth
Apollinaire Scherr talks about dance
Seeing Things
Tobi Tobias on dance et al...

Jazz Beyond Jazz
Howard Mandel's freelance Urban Improvisation
Focus on New Orleans. Jazz and Other Sounds
Doug Ramsey on Jazz and other matters...

Out There
Jeff Weinstein's Cultural Mixology
Serious Popcorn
Martha Bayles on Film...

classical music
Creative Destruction
Fresh ideas on building arts communities
The Future of Classical Music?
Greg Sandow performs a book-in-progress
On the Record
Exploring Orchestras w/ Henry Fogel
Harvey Sachs on music, and various digressions
Bruce Brubaker on all things Piano
Kyle Gann on music after the fact
Greg Sandow on the future of Classical Music
Slipped Disc
Norman Lebrecht on Shifting Sound Worlds

Jerome Weeks on Books
Quick Study
Scott McLemee on books, ideas & trash-culture ephemera

Drama Queen
Wendy Rosenfield: covering drama, onstage and off
lies like truth
Chloe Veltman on how culture will save the world

Aesthetic Grounds
Public Art, Public Space
Another Bouncing Ball
Regina Hackett takes her Art To Go
John Perreault's art diary
Lee Rosenbaum's Cultural Commentary
Modern Art Notes
Tyler Green's modern & contemporary art blog
Creative Commons License
This weblog is licensed under a Creative Commons License.