Documentary hybrid, human interest, history
Germany/Romania, 2022, 94 min.
Language: German with English subtitles
Original title: Sorry Genosse
Director/screenwriter: Vera Brückner
Cinematographer: Felix Pflieger
German producers: Fabian Halbig, Florian Kamhuber (Nordpolaris)
Cast: Karl-Heinz Stützel, Hedwig Stützel, Brigitte Ulrich, Lisa Rumpel, Lothar Thiel
Festivals: Berlinale 2022 (Perspektive Deutsches Kino)
The irreverent Sorry Comrade is a delightful, complex feature debut from Vera Brückner. The film is a documentary portrait of Karl-Heinz and Hedi, two lovers in the divided Germany of the 1970s, kept apart by the Iron Curtain. A plan for Hedi’s escape from East Germany is hatched, and we soon find ourselves in thriller territory as their plan begins to unfold.
Brückner’s canny film moves quickly and cinematically, using first-person testimony, excerpts from private correspondence, and a rich trove of archival footage. Yet Sorry Comrade plays fast and loose with documentary conventions, deploying a wealth of aesthetic strategies, including some vibrant sets and reenactments that make no apology for their deliberate artifice. Abetted by a memorably jazzy score and a keen sense of humor, this confident, energetic film makes for a deeply satisfying experience that is both profound and delivered with a lightness of touch. – Jim Kolmar
Presented with Jonas Riemer’s The One Who Crossed the Sea