Thursday, March 14
(1958, DCP, 116 min) dir Konrad Wolf, w/ Ulrike Germer, Günther Simon, Erwin Geschonneck. Set in a uranium mine in the German Ore Mountains, Sun Seekers tells the story of the Soviet nuclear program, here framed as a matter of “world peace.” At the center of the film is a young woman named Lutz, sentenced to hard labour for suspected prostitution, who gradually comes to find her place in a new socialist world. Down in the mines, Lutz comes into contact with a motley assortment of characters—Soviet officers and former members of the SS, old anarchists and one-time prostitutes—who dramatize the historical and ideological contradictions that haunted the formation of the German Democratic Republic. Directed by the celebrated DEFA filmmaker Konrad Wolf, the film was banned in 1958 and only released in 1972, after a prolonged campaign on the director’s part. Combining gritty realism and melodrama, socialist propaganda and subtle moments of ideological critique, the film today stands as one of the most complex and daring productions of East German cinema.
This screening is organized by Katerina Korola, Assistant Professor of German Studies at the University of Minnesota, with the support of the Department of German, Nordic, Slavic, and Dutch, the Center for German and European Studies, the Center for Austrian Studies, and Environmental Humanities Initiative at the University of Minnesota Twin Cities. A new subtitled DCP has been provided by the DEFA Film Library.