GUNDERMANN

Germany 2018

Synopsis

He wants to be a good worker, a great husband, a caring father, an artist, a clown, a politician - he is everything at the same time. Gerhard Gundermann is hero and anti-hero, a constant contradiction, a glittering figure typical of the former East-Germany - and again not. People like him are everywhere. And they offend everywhere.

Directors Statement

“East German identity” I’m very careful with terms like “East German identity.” And I hate the word “Ostalgie” (nostalgia for all things GDR). I don’t want to go back to the GDR, which doesn’t mean that I just quietly gave up on its ideals. Gundermann said it very well in one of his excavator journals: “I belong to the losers. I bet on the right horse, but it didn’t win.” Gundermann took the GDR at its word ... It’s a huge tragedy and it broke many people in the GDR. The ones who believed in it became outsiders or were even persecuted. It’s a paradox of history that the communists were suddenly spied upon. Gundermann saw for himself how it feels to be labelled the enemy. That quote says a lot. For example, that the utopian idea of a fair world is justified – but it’s a question of implementation. The GDR didn’t keep its promise, but that certainly doesn’t mean that the utopia idea is no good. Personally, I’m pretty fed up with all the clichés that continue to exist even so many years after the fall of the Wall, as well as with the tainted ways we see each other. 18 songs in the film for the audience to discover or re-discover Of course, we wanted the audience to become acquainted with Gundermann’s great songs. Their unique melancholic poetry makes them essential and they can be deeply touching. I wanted to share that feeling of being profoundly touched, that’s why there is so much space given to the songs within the film. But it was important to us that they were revised and that we didn’t just play them back verbatim. They are a kind of cautious adaptation. Jens Quandt supervised the music recording, and I chose Gisbert zu Knyphausen’s old band. They’re all “West musicians” who didn’t know Gundermann, and were excited to explore and adapt the songs.

Director's Biography

Andreas Dresen was born in 1963 in Gera. By 1979 he had already begun to shoot his own amateur films and from 1986 to 1991 studied at the “Konrad Wolf” Film University in Potsdam-Babelsberg, where he graduated with distinction. Since 1992 he has worked as a freelance author and director. His films include many multiple award-winning productions.
He first directed for the theatre in 1996, staging Goethe’s "Urfaust" at the Staatstheater Cottbus. Further theatre work followed, including at Schauspiel Leipzig and the Deutsches Theater Berlin. His opera debut came in 2006 with "Don Giovanni" at Theater Basel.
Dresen is a member of the Academy of Arts Berlin-Brandenburg, the European Film Academy and a founding member of the German Film Academy.
He lives in Potsdam.

Filmography:
2018 - GUNDERMANN
2017 - TIMM THALER
2014 - ALS WIR TRÄUMTEN
2012 - HERR WICHMANN AUS DER DRITTEN REIHE
2011 - HALT AUF FREIER STRECKE
2009 - WHISKY MIT WODKA
2008 - WOLKE 9
2005 - SOMMER VORM BALKON
2005 - WILLENBROCK
2002 - HALBE TREPPE
2002 - HERR WICHMANN VON DER CDU
2000 - DIE POLIZISTIN
1999 - NACHTGESTALTEN
1997 - RAUS AUS DER HAUT
1997 - DER TAUSCH
1994 - DAS ANDERE LEBEN DES HERRN KREINS
1994 - KUCKUCKSKINDER
1993 - KRAUSES KNEIPE
1992 - STILLES LAND
1990 - SO SCHNELL ES GEHT NACH ISTANBUL
1989 - JENSEITS VON KLEIN WANZLEBEN
1989 - ZUG IN DIE FERNE
1988 - NACHTS SCHLAFEN DIE RATTEN
1988 - WAS JEDER MUß ...
1987 - KONSEQUENZEN - PETER, 25
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Cast & Crew

Directed by: Andreas Dresen

Written by: Laila Stieler

Produced by: Claudia Steffen, Christoph Friedel

Cinematography: Andreas Höfer

Editing: Jörg Hauschild

Production Design: Susanne Hopf

Costume Design: Sabine Greunig

Hair & Make-up: Uta Spikermann, Grit Kosse

Sound: Peter Schmidt, Thomas Neumann, Ralf Krause

Main Cast: Eva Weißenborn (Helga), Benjamin Kramme (Wenni), Kathrin Angerer (Irene), Milan Peschel (Volker), Alexander Scheer (Gundermann), Bjarne Mädel (party secretary), Anna Unterberger (Conny), Peter Sodann (veteran), Axel Prahl (agent controller), Thorsten Merten (puppeteer)

Nominations and Awards

  • EFA Feature Film Selection 2019