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

Can Dialectics Break Bricks Cinema: Gundermann (Andreas Dresen)

Sunday 6 February 2022, Can Dialectics Break Bricks Cinema: Gundermann (Andreas Dresen), 118 minutes. In German with English subtitles. Doors open at 19:30, Film starts at 20:00.

This is a biopic about the DDR singer-songwriter Gerhard Gundermann (1955-1998). It is directed by Andreas Dresen, one of the very few East German filmmakers that was allowed to make movies after the fall of the Berlin wall. I love his films because he always sees things from a different angle than West German filmmakers. There is a kind of humanitarianism in Dresen’s films that is missing from West German because they try to be too sensational, too ‘cool’, too controversial or overly sentimental. For Dresen cinema is never a commercial trick or a gimmick.

Our main character Gerhard Gundermann had a job as a crane operator in an excavation site. It’s 1970s and during the day he digs for coal, but at night he was forming rock bands to play music. His songs were thoughtful, touching, rebellious, and hopeful. But after the Berlin wall fell, it turned out he had a contradictory past, and had a secret life working undercover. So what emerges in this flick is a complex portrait of a highly unusual character. Although we like to see the world in black-and-white terms, things are not always so easy… usually reality is in shades.

This film shifts back and forth in time – into the seventies, to the fall of the Berlin wall in the late 80s, and the reunification of the 90s… showing how Gundermann dealt with his double life in his later years.

This will be a high-definition screening.

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