11 March 2015 | OJT
Something is rotten in the state of the German Democtratic Republic
"The Tower ("Der Turm") is a both a 180 minutes television movie and a 115 minutes film version by director Christian Schwochow based upon the critically acclaimed novels by Thomas Kirchner and Uwe Tellkamp. This review is based upon the two hour version. Director Christian Schwochow is known for having a good hand on feature cinema movies, and has made a very good and tight TV-movie with a bunch of well known German actors.
The depicted story is about the final 7-8 years if the DDR (GDR/East German state) and we witness how some of the more privileged in this society deal with their lives in the overgrown state. We are close to Dresden, where Jan Josef Liefers plays the main role as the successful and ambitious doctor which is such a perfectionist that he can't accept any kind of failure, neither by colleagues nor by his son, still not able to follow his strict way of life, like having an affair and even a secret daughter with his secretary. We also follow his son, played by Sebastian Urzendowsky, seeing how the system works both in school and in the military services.
The story is good and interesting. I think these films depicting the DDR is very interesting, as this state was a large and quite rare, and definitely also sad, experiment at a totalitarian state. A state where you always had to watch your mouth and you doings, for anything that could resemble anything that would mean that you weren't a total supporter of the party, the system and the state. A system so corrupted that it allows the top members and comrades what they don't allow anyone else. Nothing to do with the socialist ideas, but still saying the socialist ideal was the drive of the whole society. Still ideas which allows there to be built a totalitarian state with leaders being allowed to sink down in privileges and corruption, with no respect for human life or personal freedom.
DDR / GDR all ended in 1989 with the democratic revolution which spread after glasnost, and surprised us all. The film ends when we come to the end of the DDR-state. We're taken to the last hours of the DDR, and the tension which the hours around the fall of the wall (Die Mauer) when the protests arose on the wonderful autumn day in 1989, when a sate decree was transmitted over radio that all East German citizens could, without any further delay go abroad for shorter or longer terms.
If you like this you should also check out these three films about the same subject: Goodbye Lenin, The life of others, Barbara.
A fine piece of work, which most certainly also work as a recommendation to read the novel as well.