A film from the GDR

Submitted by AWL on 18 May, 2021 - 6:07 Author: John Cunningham
Berlin: Schoenhauser Corner

Making a — very loose — connection to Bruce Robinson’s review of theDeutschland series (Solidarity 592), and jumping back a few years, the GDR (which acquired the great UFA film studio when Germany was divided) once made some interesting films, even though much of this output now lies neglected and relatively unknown. My selection is a 1957 film, Berlin: Schoenhauser Corner, directed by Gerhard Klein. The ‘corner’ in question is a series of railway arches at Schoenhauser station on the Berlin overhead railway. Here disaffected teenagers, rebels and misfits congregate to look for some relief from the grind, boredom and drabness of life in the Soviet sector of Berlin. Some of them engage in petty criminality or deal on the black market, while for many the name of the game is just loafing about. Although the film sometimes portrays them as if they are just dying for a member of the Communist Youth League to come along and recruit them, it is generally an intelligent depiction of what was sometimes referred to as “youth disaffection”, which was seen in the GDR as a major problem. Berlin: Schoenhauser Corner can be found on Icestorm/network DVD, which has also released other films from the GDR period.

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