Dir: Barbara Junge , Winfried Junge
141 min., 35mm, 1:1.37, Color and b/w, WP
Produktion: A Jour Film- und Fernsehproduktion, Berlin. Buch: Barbara und Winfried Junge, nach einer Idee von Karl Gass. Kamera: Hans-Eberhard Leupold, Harald Klix, W. Randel, W. Dietzel, R.Worell. Schnitt: Barbara Junge. Ton: P. Sosna, H. Dinter, J. Huschenbett, M. Zielinski, E. Pfaff, U. Fengler, J. Abel, W. Heise, T. Bachmann, U. Haußig, E. Dornmeyer, P. Stanislawski, K. Füller, W. Schütze, E. Schwarz, P. Pflughaupt. Mischton: Hannes Schreier. Tonüberspielung: Harro Zimmermann. Musik: Gerhard Rosenfeld. Tonstudio: Gunther Krex, Berlin. Text, Sprecher: Winfried Junge. Dokumentation und Schnitt: Barbara Junge. Assistenz: Dagmar Bingel, Sieglinde Kruschke. Trickkamera: Jürgen Bahr. Avid-Schnitt: Angela Wendt. Negativschnitt: Barbara Gummert. Produzent: Klaus-Dieter Schmutzer.
Uraufführung: 16.2.1997, Internationales Forum des Jungen Films.
Weltvertrieb: Progress Filmverleih GmbH, Burgstr. 27, D- 10178 Berlin, Tel.: (49-30) 28 06 49, Fax: (49-30) 282 91 57.
Eine Koproduktion mit dem Ostdeutschen Rundfunk Brandenburg und dem Norddeutschen Rundfunk. Unterstützt vom Staatlichen Filmarchiv der DDR und dem Bundesarchiv (Filmarchiv) der Bundesrepublik Deutschland. Gefördert vom Bundesministerium des Innern und dem Filmboard Berlin-Brandenburg GmbH.
Sun 16.02. 11:00 Kino 7 im Zoo Palast Sun 16.02. 16:30 Delphi Mon 17.02. 12:30 Arsenal Tue 18.02. 19:30 Akademie der Künste Wed 19.02. 19:00 Babylon
The chronicle of the ,Children of Golzow' is the life history of people started in school in 1961 in Golzow (Oderbruch), a few days after the Berlin Wall was built, and who are now middle-aged.
1979 ‘Anmut sparet nicht noch Mühe' - The History of Golzow's Children
1980 Life Stories- The History of Golzow's Children in Individual Portraits
1992 Script: Times Gone by - Three Decades with Golzow's Children and the DEFA
The new film is a follow-up to Life Stories, featuring the life of Willy S. The children's lives illustrate a part of the GDR's history as well as the history of DEFA Documentary films. Both of these histories have come to an end. The film chronicle endures, however, and remains the longest and oldest on-going project of its kind in international film.
Marieluise is Elke's girlfriend, not Catholic like the latter but Protestant. She also went to school in Golzow for ten years, looking for a job in town after graduation. She became a laboratory assistant in the semiconductor factory Frankfurt (Oder) without, however, much liking the work. She was one of six children, her parents were both dairy workers. Her father was a believing Christian. She herself would have preferred to become a nurse.
The beautiful and intelligent girl was luckier in love. Popular with the boys in school, she fell in love no less frequently than Elke. She married late, however, in a civil ceremony because her fiancé Steffen was an officer in the GDR army. She remained loyal to him despite or perhaps because of problems and stress which the family suffered over the years. As a member of the armed forces Steffen was subject to a number of constraints and pressures regarding discipline and secrecy. They had two daughters. Marieluise breathed a sigh of relief when the wall fell, even though it was unclear what would happen to her job in a military-technical institute and his position as an airforce officer.
Steffen was integrated into the Bundeswehr (Army of the Federal Republic of Germany) and is stationed today on the airbase Cologne-Wahn. The family moved to Cologne, the only people from Golzow to have moved to the West. This is how the film ends. What will happen in the sequel?
Erika Richter: Your latest Golzow film features a different narrative structure. The protagonist reflects on her life from the point of view of today. What made you do that?
Winfried Junge: We were often asked about previous films whether the Golzow people know in advance how their statements will be used. What do they think of your choice of footage? Wouldn't it be possible to include their perspective? I thought that such an approach might work with Marieluise. It was possible to do it with her. Consequently, we had to make a dramaturgical decision. We don't start in the sand box, see her grow up and develop. Instead, she is an adult woman, looks at her life on the video recorder and comments on it.
Barbara Junge: Before making the film we showed her all the footage. Her comments were of a quality which made us think: that's really the film. We recorded her reactions with Betacam.
W.J.: But our question was: is this structure going to work? After filming her observations and conversations we were able to decide positively. From the hours and hours of footage we chose eighteen minutes for the film. Furthermore, we used her voice for some of the 35mm film sequences. When we had her on screen we wanted her to concentrate on important issues, visually interesting points. It is a great disadvantage that we worked with video, that we didn't have the money to transpose it digitally to achieve better picture quality. But we stand by this technical stopgap solution. It enabled us to let Marieluise talk at length. We didn't have to be miserly with time, with film material. She was free to talk as much as she liked. Our problem was choosing from the material afterwards. The film is a real mix-and-match combination. Having filmed so many statements and footage from 34 years, you can imagine that it isn't easy to choose a narrative structure that works. lt was bone-breaking work.
For me the question remains whether the narrative structure doesn't undermine the project. Previously, it had always been very exciting to see how a person develops and comes to have his/her adult face. In the case of Marieluise this didn't happen. I wonder whether we haven't given away too much.
E.R.: I don't think so. Marielusie made a very strong impression on me in Life Stories (1980). She radiated such hopefulness, beauty, clarity, even as an adult she has retained a strong and special personality. I don't really need to see the gradual change. Perhaps it is a loss for some people to be confronted with the adult Marieluise immediately, but it is compensated, I think, by her awareness, her liveliness, her intensity.
W.J.: I have to point out another problem. The basic situation - she sees her life and comments on it - is not without constraint. Her life always serves as evidence for what she is telling us. In the other films suspense was created by using a chronological structure. The viewer couldn't anticipate what would happen next to the protagonist. I wonder about suspense in this film. How is suspense created here? Apart from a few flashbacks, the film sequences are chronologically arranged. But I am not at all sure whether this framework doesn't eventually become annoying.
E.R.: I have seen the film twice and still find it exciting. I didn't perceive any deficiencies, not least because there are stories which have never been told before. For example, the story about her marriage to a pilot of the National Air Force and her Christian parents. The episode when her father is arrested when he returns from Solidarnosc in Poland with leaflets. This tiny piece of information leaked to the son-in-law's superiors with bad consequences. Naturally, this sort of thing was known to happen, but here, we see a concrete example. These episodes become very vivid in the interplay between film footage and Marieluise's narrative.
B.J.: Perhaps as an East German you notice this, but is it obvious to people from the old federal states?
E.R.: Of course they understand. Especially the problems of this highly original father, they are so obvious, everyone understands.
B.J.: Marieluise's husband says the key words in the advent interview in 1989: "We had different opinions, then we agreed again but we really didn't see eye to eye." It was obvious that he was under a lot of pressure from his superiors. He tried so hard to reach an understanding with his wife, not to endanger the marriage. That was pretty obvious.
E.R.: One also gets the sense that they don't say everything in the film. That's proper, I think. I also believe it was important for you to try out a different structure.
B.J.: For me something else matters, i.e. at the end you can compare four different life stories (Jürgen, Willy, Marieluise and Elke) and realize how differently their lives developed, what they have done with their lives. The films might not all be of the same quality but the comparison, the entire picture, that is what counts.
E.R.: And yet, each film has to stand on its own. I'll say it again: it seems to me that the structure for Marieluise's narrative really works.
B.J.: The film works because there is a previous one about the twenty year old (I Talked to a Girl), there was plenty of material.
W.J.: The amount of material scared us. It posed an additional problem. We know Marieluise from previous ,Life stories' and see the same material again. She also appeared in Script: Times Gone by - Three Decades with Golzow's Children and the DEFA for ten minutes. I wonder whether this was a good idea. I am glad that the precise context and background are evident, the fabric of things, as it were. And yet, the amount of old material is a problem. We want to continue and plan a number of additional stories. But how should we shape them? I don't want to continue filming, and yet, I have to stick to the two-hour format. We cut something at the beginning so we can take in something new. That's not right, is it?
E.R.: I like seeing the old footage. As time goes by the old footage gains in poetry, power and intensity. On the other hand, the four new life stories of Jürgen, Willy, Elke and Marieluise are enormously important, having been produced after the fall of the wall. That's because the history of this country, or rather, a part of this country is shown with great credibility. It is not only interesting to see how people deal with the new times but also to find out who remains in Golzow, who leaves and where they go, who experiences a change in social status...
W.J.: We are the only ones who can look so far into the past.
E.R.: Each time it is exciting and quite different because it is a yet another human being. One has to consider very carefully how to approach him or her, how you can present him or her to the audience without betraying him.
W.J.: We will never make the film that we really want to make. There is so much more in our heads and film cans than we could ever show. The footage of Marieluise could easily yield a four or five hour film. But we had to be satisfied with this ,short film'. It's unfortunately impossible to present this huge fabric of lives, and what it means to live with them for three or four decades. I really should have sat down as well and talked about certain issues from my point of view. I always ask myself: have we used those two hours well enough to bring across Marieluise, the times and our attitude? One has to accept all the constraints, the compressing because cinema is finite. It is sad to finish a portrait. This is just to say that we could have done it very differently.
E.R.: I understand that this must be very painful for you, that you rebel against the constraints. On the other hand, it is very interesting to see footage which is intelligently edited, when different issues clash and there are ,missing links'. These can actually challenge the viewer's imagination, curiosity, interest or anxiety.
W.J.: But the film has to offer the audience food for imagination. One cannot reflect on the unknown. There are a number of aspects to her life about which we don't hear anything but which are no less interesting.
E.R.: That's one aspect. The other aspect is the fact that every viewer has his/her own life and way of thinking. It might not be appropriate to apply this to Marieluise's narrative but it might still be an important viewing experience for the viewer.
W.J.: I hope the film isn't pessimistic but that is encourages the viewer. It shows that our people can assert themselves after all.
E.R.: What will happen with the Golzow project?
W.J.: We have about 300 000 m film in the can, the rough cuts of seven more stories are available. If we had the finances each film could be more than two hours long. It would be interesting to see these lives in parallel films, comparable to the nine life stories in 1981. We want to create a similar panorama of 10 stories. This isn't an easy task because certain issues are confidential. We don't want to embarrass the candidates. You always have to keep the village premiere in mind, the film has to stand up to scrutiny by the village people. So far they have screened all the films in Golzow with one exception: Jürgen. He seems to be controversial in Golzow. The village people don't agree with everything we say or do, especially why we would be making a three hour film about someone like Jürgen and not, say, about the mayor.
E.R.: The last two films about Elke and Marieluise are special because they go beyond the province, i.e. Oderbruch, into the world, they become ,grander'. On the other hand, everday life in Golzow was always fascinating. It would be great to look at these changes today.
W.J.: One of our film projects is about those who remained in agriculture. By the way, Golzow has one of the largest agricultural areas in the European Union.
Something else. Eberhard Fechner, our famous colleague who is now deceased, filmed 150 hours of the Maidanek trial and he made a long film using this footage. It is said that he had a paragraph included in the contract which stipulated that the film could only be broadcast once all the material was stored in the Bundesarchiv (Federal Archive). This is what we should do with the Golzow footage. We are halfway there already. Our negatives were stored in the Staatliche Filmarchiv der DDR (GDR Film archive), they are now in the Bundesarchiv (Federal Archive). Doing seven narratives is perhaps wishful thinking, I don't know whether we'll manage. In any case, we hope that Here you have my life - Marieluise, a Golzow child will not be the last Golzow film, even though it looks as if the financial situation might end the series.
E.R.: Thank you for this interview.
The interview took place on January 23rd, 1997 in Berlin.
Barbara Junge was born in 1943 in Neunhofen/Thüringen and graduated from Karl-Marx-University, Leipzig, with a diploma as an English and Russian translator. From 1969 she worked at the DEFA studio for documentary film, in charge of foreign language versions of DEFA documentary films. Since 1978 she is responsible for the archival documentation of the Golzow project, and since 1983 she has edited all of Winfried Junge's films.
Winfried Junge was born 1935 in Berlin. From 1953, he studied German literature at the Humboldt University, Berlin, and then changed to the newly founded German Filmschool in Potsdam-Babelsberg in 1954, specializing in dramaturgy. He graduated in 1958 and began work at the DEFA studio for popular film as dramaturgue, later as director's assistant for, among others, Karl Gass. He followed the latter to the DEFA studio for documentary film in 1961. Junge made his first own film in the same year: When I finally Go To School, the first documentary in the Golzow series. From 1962 to 1988 he worked together mainly with cinematographer Eberhard Leupold, then with Harald Klix. Apart from the twelve Golzow films, Junge has made about fifty documentaries.
1965: Studentinnen. 1967: Der tapfere Schulschwänzer. 1968: Mit beiden Beinen im Himmel - Begegnungen mit einem Flugkapitän. 1970/71: Syrien auf den zweiten Blick. 1971: Einberufen. 1974: Keine Pause für Löffler. 1973/74: Sagen wird man über unsre Tage. 1976: Somalia - Die große Anstrengung. 1979: Anmut sparet nicht noch Mühe, die Geschichte der Kinder von Golzow, eine Chronik. 1981: Lebensläufe, die Geschichte der Kinder von Golzow in einzelnen Porträts (Forum 1982). 1988: Diese Briten - diese Deutschen. Zueinander unterwegs nach Newcastle und Rostock. Zwei Filme - ein Dialog: Von Marx und Engels zu Marks & Spencer. 1988: Gruß aus Libyen. 1989/90: Der Vater blieb im Krieg. Nicht jeder findet sein Troja. 1961-1993: Drehbuch die Zeiten - Drei Jahrzehnte mit den Kindern von Golzow (Forum 1993). 1961-1994: Das Leben des Jürgen von Golzow (Forum 1994). 1961-1995: Die Geschichte des Onkel Willy aus Golzow. 1961-1996: Was geht Euch mein Leben an. 1961-1997: DA HABT IHR MEIN LEBEN, MARIELUISE - KIND VON GOLZOW.
© 1997 by International Forum of New Cinema. All rights reserved.