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4th German Film Week

© Beta Cinema


Quote One of the richest, most sophisticated and greatest films about the GDR.
  – Spiegel.de

With sensibility, affection, and humour, multi award-winning director Andreas Dresen presents this moving and endearing portrait of the beloved East German folk singer and songwriter Gerhard Gundermann. Politically active and passionate, digger driver Gundermann’s music career took off in 1986, capturing the hearts of the people with his clever, often melancholy lyrics imbued with social commentary. A poet, a clown, a loyal husband and an idealist, Gundermann lived a multifaceted life as a rebel - and a spy who was spied on.
Alexander Scheer is truly astonishing to watch as the intractable, brave and contradictory talent, not least because he sings every song himself. This inspiring biopic is both a music film and a love story that courageously encompasses guilt and entanglement, as well as suppression and, above all, defiance

Source: Pandora Films Production


film review

Gundermann tells the story of the singer-songwriter Gerhard Gundermann (called Gundi by his family and close friends), a beloved yet problematic figure from East Germany who led a colorful, complicated life. The film presents many facets of his existence: a hero and anti-hero, a genius and jerk, a talented musician and poet who refused to leave his job in the mine as digger driver despite being busy with his artistic career, a staunch and stubborn activist and Marxist, a difficult and loving husband and father, and a former Stasi collaborator who began to realize the impact, on his family and friendships, of his years of involvement with the GDR. His image in the film seems to mirror a typical representation of the former socialist East Germany as one marked by vigorous contradiction, strong and surviving in its polarizing legacy.
Using varying timelines to evoke his fractured life, Gundermann zooms in on Gundi’s active years, as he works toward his music and write about his conditions and the conditions of workers around him, infusing poetry in his heartfelt compositions, and eventually performing on a tour with Bob Dylan and packing venues himself. In a remarkable gesture, the film dwells on having Gundi confront his Stasi past, putting him in the position in which he reflects on his past actions and process his guilt, laying emphasis on the importance of coming out about it. Gundermann succeeds at celebrating Gundi’s music, allowing the audience to see the difficult realities as the origins and backgrounds of the songs, but it also serves as a political study and statement, wrapped in the cloying coat of mainstream cinema, relevant to the current times.

- Richard Bolisay

Richard Bolisay Richard Bolisay is a writer and film critic based in Manila. His essays on cinema have appeared in various publications online and in print. He is a participant of the Berlinale Talent Press and Locarno Critics Academy, and has been part of the jury of, among others, the Hong Kong International Film Festival. He recently published a collection of essays on Filipino film entitled Break It To Me Gently.
Follow him on Twitter @richardbolisay

Film details

Germany | 2018
Director: Andreas Dresen
Genre: History, Drama
English Subtitles
Duration: 127 mins
Rating: PG

Screening schedules

SM City Manila:
November 09 | 9:30pm

SM Megamall
November 11 | 9:30pm

Awards and Nominations

German Film Awards 2019: Winner, Outstanding Feature Film
German Film Awards 2019: Winner, Best Direction
German Film Awards 2019: Winner, Best Screenplay
German Film Awards 2019: Winner, Best Best Performance by an Actor in a Leading Role
Bavarian Film Awards 2019: Winner, Best Actor