27 October 2009 | hasosch
The GDR has survived - in Amherst, Massachusetts
"Der Untertan" (1951), directed by star-director Wolfgang Staudte, is based on a novel by Heinrich Mann (1871-1950) as "Der Blaue Engel" (1930), directed by Josef Von Sternberg, is. While in "Der Blaue Engel", the protagonist is a person who cannot adapt to the world around him, and when he tries, shamefully stumbles and at the end pays his attempts with his life, the main figure in "Der Untertan" is so-to-say the complimentary character: Although born in an aristocratic, high-class family, surrounded by the world-literature and regular house-concerts and thus widely detached from bourgeoisie, he finds out that he may make carrier by breaking out of this status-group isolation in trying to meddle with politics. He also finds out that for him, the best way is to put hand over hand along the rope that leads upwards while kicking the ones who are coming below him. The result is, however, that he blunders not only in public but often also in his private life. The film has an interesting, yet totalitarian and typical GDR-end which kind of disturbs the otherwise excellently crafted master-piece for which Werner Peters in the role of Dr. Hessling and the director of the film got the Great GDR-State Price.
This movie and an extremely impressive list of some hundreds of titles more, meanwhile practically the collected works of the DEFA, the state film company of the former GDR or DDR, we owe to the Department of German Studies of the University of Massachusets at Amherst that has obviously taken over the legacy to maintain and foster the gigantic film work of the "other" Germany which has ceased to exist in 1990.