Skip to main content


East Germany, 1963 (MIFF 1965)

Director: Frank Beyer

The most naturalistic films about the last war have come from the Communist countries — Czechoslo­vakia, Poland, Russia, and now, East Germany. The Iron Curtain countries view it with grey disillusion­ment.

Frank Beyers powerful narrative tells of the last weeks at Buchenwald before its liberation by the Americans. A Polish prisoner, arriving with a trans­port from Auschwitz, conceals a child in his suit­case. The Camp underground movement agrees to shield the boy. News of the child's presence eventually reaches the German commanders, but none will tell where the child is hidden. Finally, with the Americans only a few miles away, the prisoners rise against their captors.

This intelligent, bitter film was adapted by Bruno Apitz who was actually a prison inmate. The intrigues of this world within a world have an authentic ring: the script is rich, and etches in a gallery of characters. The film amounts to a sober, unsensationalised account of what life was like when freedom and sudden death were both agonisingly near.

Best Direction, Moscow Restival.

See also...


Spain, 1936. An officer and five volunteers of the International Brigade have been ordered to cover the retreat of the battalion which, out of ammunition, is forced to move back behind the Ebro. A ... More »


A true life story, based on novelist Kant's own experience as a 19-year-old drafted into the German army in 1944. Taken ... prisoner in Poland after only a few weeks' service, he is mistakenly ... More »

Measure for Measure

An animated film, satirising individuals who make in­ferior goods whilst expounding the need for craftsmanship. ... More »


Annelie und Andrew Thorndike, directors of the notable compilation films, The German Story and Operation Teutonic Sword, have now produced, after more than four years of research, The Russian ... More »


The life and artistic development of the composer are presented against the background of the turbu­lent events which took place in Europe during his life lime. The entire film is based on ... More »


Dieter is a medical student, Sonia is studying art, Siegi works in an office, Eddy is a mason. Dieter and Sonia are in love, so are Siegi and Eddy. But Siegi is fickle and Dieter is unsure of ... More »

Select a festival
Search The Film Archive
Browse By Director