Can Dialectics Break Bricks Cinema: Changing Skins (Andreas Dresen, 1997)

Sunday 4 February 2024, Can Dialectics Break Bricks Cinema: RAUS AUS DER HAUT * 1997 * (Changing Skins) * Directed by Andreas Dresen * 90 minutes * In German with English subtitles * free screening * doors open at 8pm * intro & film start at 8.30

The setting is mid 1970s East Germany, and our story revolves around two high school students, Anna and Marcus, who are inspired by news reports coming from West Germany. What are they excited by? Some new product on the western market, or a Hollywood film? No, they are captivated by the real-life terrorists Andreas Baader and Ulrike Meinhof who were robbing banks and kidnapping corporate executives. When their teacher threatens to demote them, which would prevent them from entering university because of their unruly behavior, they decide to drug their teacher, kidnap him, and keep him hostage in a cellar until after they graduate. This little gem is a ‘feel-good’ terrorist film by the East German director Andreas Dresen. It is a romance, but with a sharp wit and sense of humor. Personally, I adore this little gem, and it’s totally unknown.

After the fall of the Berlin wall, few directors from the former East bloc were able to make films in the new ‘united’ Germany. They were mostly run out of the industry, and thrown into unemployment. They were treated as if they had been contaminated by the plague. Andreas Dresen is one of the few voices in cinema that can accurately portray the life and dreams of his former East bloc GDR. And he does this with magic and charm…. and in the process he dispels many of the myths people in the West have about East Germany.

This is a mind-opening flick, with a series of wild twists and turns, but also a down-to-earth sense of humanity that was typical of the GDR. Here there is no trace of the arrogance of big-budget American movies that seem fueled by cocaine and cash. This is a low budget flick with a beautiful sensibility. Even within Germany this film is extremely difficult to see, and outside Germany it is utterly unknown. That makes this an extremely rare screening of this discreet masterpiece.

Film night at Joe’s Garage, cozy cinema! Free entrance. You want to screen a movie, let us know: joe [at] lists [dot] squat [dot] net