Film Screening Andreas Goldstein: The Communist

Andreas Goldstein: The Communist Andreas Goldstein: The Communist © A. Goldstein

Tue, 26.11.2019


Goethe-Institut London

Andreas Goldstein's deeply personal portrait of his father Klaus Gysi, a high-ranking GDR political functionary is a multi-layered reflection on the tension between political ideals and ideological opportunism and on the GDR’s ruling mechanisms and their failure.

Followed by conversation between Andreas Goldstein and historian and author Udo Grashoff, University College London.

Andreas Goldstein will also be at the Goethe-Institut for a Q&A following the screening of his film Adam & Evelyn the following day.

In this essayistic film, director Andreas Goldstein draws a complex portrait of his father Klaus Gysi (1912-1999), who was a high ranking functionary in the East German political system. A member of the German Communist Party (KPD) from 1931, he was active in oppositional activities against the Nazis from 1940 to1945 in Berlin, where he became a local mayor after the war and joined the SED (Socialist Unity Party of Germany). An eloquent, cultured intellectual with a bourgeois family background, he did not embody the typical party functionary, but in the following decades he rose up in the political hierarchy to hold a range of important positions, including that of director of the state-owned Aufbau Publishing House (1957-1966), of Cultural Minister (1966-1973), ambassador to Italy and Malta (1973-1978), and State Secretary of Church Affairs (1979-1988). Taking a decidedly subjective approach and employing a multi-layered montage of TV interviews with his father, family photos and newly filmed footage, Goldstein explores how political ideals, opportunism and self-deception played together in shaping of his father’s life. In doing so, he also explores how the GDR functioned and why it failed.
The Communist (Der Funktionär), Germany 2018, b/w & colour, DCP, 72 mins. With English subtitles. Directed by Andreas Goldstein. Script: Andreas Goldstein, Camera: Jakobine Motz, Editor: Chris Wright, Producers: Andreas Goldstein, Heino Deckert.

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Andreas Goldstein feature film Adam & Evelyn will be shown as part of our Goethe-Kino series “Love Divided” on Wednesday, 27 November. More information here.

Andreas Goldstein is a director and producer based in Berlin. After studying directing at the Film and Television Academy in Potsdam-Babelsberg "Konrad Wolf" (now: Film University Babelsberg) and being a master student at the Berlin Academy of Arts, he made several short films and worked as a production manager and producer. In 2008 he founded the production company Oktoberfilm together with director and producer Susanne Binninger. In addition, he has been writing film-theoretical and film-critical texts. His debut as feature film director Adam and Evelyn premiered at the International Film Festival in Venice in 2018, the same year his film The Communist (Der Funktionär) had its premiere at DOK Leipzig.

Udo Grashoff is DAAD Francis L. Carsten Lecturer at the History Department of the School of Slavonic and East European Studies (SSEES) at University College London, where he teaches modern German and Central European History. His work mostly covers 20th-century Germany with a focus on the history of the two German dictatorships and a special interest in taboo subjects. He examines resistance, opposition, political violence and individual agency in borderline situations. He has carried out pioneering research on suicide in the GDR, informal housing (Schwarzwohnen), and 'betrayal' within the Communist Party of Germany. He has also published two collections of his own poetry. He lives in London and in Leipzig.