Classics: glitter, glamor, GDR - a model in the east

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The GDR - also land of dreamer and birds of paradise, the unadjusted and creative. This story tells director Aelrun Goette in her film "in a country that no longer exists".

Marlene Burow (l) als Suzie und Sabin Tambrea als Rudi in einer Szene des Films «In einem Land, das es nicht mehr gibt». © Peter Hartwig/Ziegler Film/Tobis/dpa Marlene Burow (L) as Suzie and Sabin Tambrea as Rudi in a scene of the film "in a country that no longer exists".

State power tries to cover, to suck the wings, to start a betrayal. But in the end it is not the SED and the Stasi, the gray shapes and the stump sense, but the rebellious spirit.

This is not entirely new, 32 years after the SED's fall. And the film is also not quite free from clichés - the club cola is all in the first scene. Nevertheless, Goette succeeds in an interesting story - because the director takes a surprising view of the GDR fashion world, but also on her own biography. The film starts on October 6th.

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Spring 1989

In the spring of 1989, 18-year-old Suzie (Marlene Burow) is about to graduate. She wants to study literature and become a writer. But when she is caught with the forbidden book “1984” by George Orwell, it is over. Suzie has to go to socialist production. In the Oberspre cable, she starts training as a cutting capacity - drilling, milling, heavy machines. "We give you the chance to prove you," says the foreman. A disaster for Suzie.

one morning, when the young woman stares through the window of the tram on the way to work, a young man presses on the trigger of his camera outside. A little later, the photo can be found on the cover of the fashion magazine "Sibylle" - the "Vogue of the East". For Suzie, chance opens a door to the “Sibylle” and the fashion world of the GDR, a strange melange of ambition, state strict and planned economy.

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The threads draw the opaque editor -in -chief Elsa Wilbrodt (Claudia Michelsen), who promotes Suzie, sometimes builds up pressure. Suzie's mentor, however, becomes the gay Rudi (Sabin Tambrea), who participates in “Sibylle”, but also makes his own thing and celebrates life. With friends he plans his own fashion show with improvised pieces from shower curtains and candle wax.


for 14 years in the group is also Coyote (David Schütter), the photographer who photographed Suzie through the tram window. It is considered to be unbotual, should not actually be printed, but somehow bustles into the tide with brilliant photos. "I do what I want because I am an anti -social subject," he says to Suzie. The young woman falls in love with the motorcycle in the charming guy, which, however, leads in complications and the need for conscience.

Almost 14 years worked in this story and this film. Born in East Berlin in 1966, she left school without a high school diploma and became a nurse. And she was also discovered on the street in East Berlin in the 1980s and was on the cover of the “Sibylle”. "I wanted to tell something about the almost unknown and glamorous world of fashion in GDR times in the West," says the director. "I felt that the topic offers a wonderful way to expand the view of the east."

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perpetrators, victims, contemporary witness

There were not only perpetrators, victims and contemporary witnesses in the dictatorship, but also people who were powerful and wild. "For some time now, interest in questioning the stencils that have subsided over the east has grown," said Goette. "After all, it took three decades in which the corset was quite tight in which our past was packed."

The film ends with spectacular pictures of the alternative fashion show and with prophetic words from Rudi, which in between has come together violently with the state power. Suzie asks whether he did not want to go to the West, like so many in the summer of 1989. And he: «Either you are free, then you are everywhere. Or you are not, then the West is of no use. »

- In a country that is no longer available, Germany 2022, 101 min., FSK from 12 years, from Aelrun Goette, with Marlene Burow, Claudia Michelsen, David Schütter.

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