Jan on the Barge
(Jan auf der Zille)
Jan auf der Zille © DEFA-Stiftung, Wolfgang Kroffke and Siegfried Skoluda
After the police tell thirteen-year-old Jan that his communist father is wanted for murdering an SA man, the only person willing to befriend him is Max, who is involved with a resistance group. Max agrees to help Jan figure out what really happened, but during a secret antifascist meeting, Max is shot and Jan barely escapes. The only clue he has is that a man on a barge knows the whereabouts of his father. While trying to find this barge, Jan's boat sinks, but the ship owner who rescues him is a loyal Nazi. Can Jan find his father before the police find him?
Jan on the Barge is the final installment in a trilogy of historical children's films by director Helmut Dziuba, which also includes Red Ties (Rotschlipse, 1977) and When Unku was Ede's Friend (Als Unku Edes Freundin war, 1980).
|1986||Blue Elephant, Essen Children's Film Festival|
"Seldom has the atmosphere of fear and threat under the Nazis been so reservedly yet so impressively conveyed as here. Seldom, too, has a film captured the environment of that time period in such authentic and coherent detail. This is also true of the psychological accuracy with which Helmut Dziuba and his co-scriptwriter Hans Albert Pederzani tell their story: sparing with words, heavily reliant on glances and gestures ... One of the best DEFA productions in a long time."
–Heinz Kerstin, Tagesspiegel, May 11, 1986.