The Story of a Young Couple

(Roman einer jungen Ehe)

GDR, 1952, 99 min, B&W
In German; English subtitles
Credits:
Director
Script
Editor
Camera
Set Design
Costume Design
Music (Score)
Special Effects
Cast
Production Company

Synopsis

A young couple—both actors—live and work in Berlin before the Wall is built. Agnes is on location in East Berlin and her husband Jochen works at the Westend Theater in West Berlin. They hold diametrically opposed views on politics, art and the role of the individual in society, and their vehement arguments threaten to break up their marriage. 

Commentary

This film portrays numerous figures of early postwar German cultural and political life—including Veit Harlan, director of the notorious Nazi propaganda film Jud Süss, and Boleslaw Barlog, a famous West Berlin theater director. Also memorable in this film is documentary footage of the construction of Stalin Allee, the biggest boulevard built in East Berlin after WWII, soon to become a central locus of the popular uprising of 17 June 1953.

 

Director Kurt Maetzig depicts Cold War Berlin with dramatic verve, but the film illustrates the tightening grip of Stalinism on East German cultural production at this time.

Awards

1991 Official Selection, Berlin International Film Festival

Press comments

“Maetzig later called this film an artistic mistake, but today The Story of a Young Couple represents a fascinating document of its time. Anyone who wants to experience the tensions of the Cold War won’t find any more authentic work in German film history. … A pathetic utopia that subjected itself unconditionally to the political canon of the day.”
— Martin Mund, Neues Deutschland

 

“The film is meaningful and significant as an authentic document about the hysteria and resulting falsification of truth in the Cold War.”
epd filmdienst

 

"The film makes us sit up and take notice - and we are pleased to see a film with such sound, humane groundwork. At last, a film which attempts to derive its political and educational effect in a legitimate, original artistic manner and from character development, the personal conflicts and decisions taken by the characters."
Berliner Zeitung, January 22, 1952

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