Berlin – Schönhauser Corner

(Berlin – Ecke Schönhauser)

GDR, 1957, 82 min, B&W
In German; English subtitles
Credits:
Director
Script
Dramaturg
Editor
Camera
Set Design
Costume Design
Music (Score)
Special Effects
Cast

Synopsis

They are East Berlin teenagers. They want to be free—to dance to rock’n’roll, trade forbidden western goods and get away from the constraints of their parents and the state. This classic 1950’s teen cult film became a box-office hit and was greeted with suspicion by East German officials.

Commentary

Berlin – Schönhauser Corner is a perceptive social portrait of a city in which political and economic division affected the entire population, including but not limited to teenagers. Klein and scriptwriter Wolfgang Kohlhaase were reproached for emphasizing “negative problematic images of our [East German] life," but this film was loved by the public precisely for its truthful portrayal of everyday life. 

 

One of the "Berlin Films" made by Klein and scriptwriter Wolfgang Kohlhaase, this film is an important contribtution to the international youth film genre and was ranked by film critics among Germany’s 100 Most Important Films. Screened at The Museum of Modern Art in New York in 2005 as part of the Rebels with a Cause: The Cinema of East Germany series.

Awards

2010 Berlin International Film Festival, Homage to Wolfgang Kohlhaase 

Press comments

“Powerful performances!”
— The Museum of Modern Art, New York

 

“…told in a neorealistic style”
The Oxford History of World Cinema

 

“The film successfully combined aspects of Italian neo-realism with the Hollywood juvenile-delinquency flicks released in West Germany.”
— Jim Hoberman, Village Voice

 

“The East German version of The Wild Ones.”
— Desson Thomson, Washington Post

 

"A courageous film that marvelously portrays a problem of youth today."
Junge Welt on Sept. 3, 1957

 

“It remains a classic of German and European youth films.”
— Prof. Barton Byg, University of Massachusetts Amherst

 

"Over many years this film has retained much of its Berlin feel, realism, accuracy of detail, honest portrayal of conflict, especially in comparison to more recent DEFA productions."
— Jutta Voigt, Sonntag 

 

"It would be desirable that this film be shown to us, even though it is a communist accented film. In its heart, it is everything else. Hats off to the men that made it."
Die Welt on Sept. 7, 1957

Availability

Special features:
  • Biographies & Filmographies
  • Introductory Essay
  • Kohlhaase on Klein, 2001

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