This East German film about corruption in high places, and self-serving party officials, and abuse of power, was withheld from release from its completion in 1965 until 1990, shortly before the Berlin wall went down and the reunification process began.
A young woman’s (Angelika Waller) idyllic world collapses with a bang when her brother is arrested for propagandizing against the Party. She unexpectedly falls in love with a man (Alfred Müller) who turns out to be the judge responsible for her brother’s troubles. Faced with an impossible dilemma the woman begins to see the world around her differently.
In the early 1960s, Soviet Premier Nikita Khrushchev was asked his feelings on current cinema. To him Soviet film, once a haven of artistic expression, had become stale through dogma and propaganda. He wanted to bring film into a more artistic, progressive age and, as a result, the DEFA (East Germany’s film association) greenlit a whole slate of films to forge this new path. Khrushchev was soon ousted in favor of Leonid Brezhnev, however, and his hard-line stance ran in strict opposition to his predecessor. His position of regression resulted in the summary banning of a number of films, all left to rot in the vault. They made a particular example of The Rabbit Is Me. Director Kurt Maetzig (Silent Star) had long been a highly respected Socialist, and The Rabbit Is Me was a slap in the face to the government, adding bitter irony to its biting, honest criticism of East German justice.
• Interview with Director Kurt Maetzig – he recalls the fate of his film, the political climate at the time of its premiere, and the events that led to his banning. The specific comments Mr. Maetzig provides are indeed very telling as he was a member of the Communist Party as well.
• Interview with Hans Bentzien – GDR’s Minister of Culture, who talks about the general climate in the country at the time the film was completed. He spends a great deal of time explaining the reasoning behind the cultural stagnation reining in GDR during the early 60s.
• Banned – DEFA Film and the 11th General Assembly – narrated in English, which offers an even more detailed account on the political process in the GDR at the time.
• Newsreels about the film (No English subtitles)
1.43GB | 1h 49m | 576×432 | avi