Your Unknown Brother

(Dein unbekannter Bruder)

GDR, 1982, 108 min, color
In German; English subtitles
Credits:
Director
Script
Dramaturg
Editor
Camera
Set Design
Costume Design
Music (Score)
Cast
Production Company

Synopsis

It is the year 1935: After being released from a concentration camp, Arnold remains working for the resistance movement in Hamburg. He has mixed feelings about his new contact agent; he almost envies the man's self-confidence, but cannot help mistrusting him. And this time, when casualties are heavy, only Walter emerges unscathed. Is he an informer?

 

Based on Willi Bredel's book of the same name.

Commentary

Isolation, fear, the need for friendship and betrayal are the themes of this film. This rare psychological take on antifascism represents a milestone in East German filmmaking, as it both sustains and breaks with the antifascist tradition.

 

Invited to compete at the Cannes Film Festival, Your Unknown Brother was withdrawn by East German officials, despite the filmmakers’ feverish preparations. Ulrich Weiß, a talented director for whom this film represented great strides in creative development, emerged embittered from this experience, and from this point onward, all his artistic activities were undercut. It appears that those responsible didn’t want to take any more risks with this independent, untamable and unpredictable genius.

Awards

1982

Awards for Directing, Camera, and Scenography, GDR National Feature Film Festival, Karl-Marx-Stadt

Press comments

"This film is narrated from a psychological point of view showing guts to experiment and great sense of style."
—Katholisches Institut für Medienforschung, 2002

 

"It has been for quite a time that I haven't been able to forget so many of the images in a DEFA-film, as I did in this one."
— Jutta Voigt, film journalist, Sonntag 22/1982

 

"A milestone."
— The Museum of Modern Art

 

"Uses a keen sense of psychological drama to investigate the intrigue, betrayal and paranoia of the underground resistance movement to National Socialism in 1930s Hamburg."
— Leeds International Film Festival

 

"Director Ulrich Weiß was the greatest talent to emerge from the Babelsberg film school in the 1970s."
The Oxford History of World Cinema

 

“Film for me is the discovery of the sensual world.”
— Ulrich Weiß, director

Availability

Special features:
  • Turn Subtitles On/Off
  • Biographies & Filmographies
  • Eyewitness: Member of the Resistance – Irene Harloff Remembers
  • Introductory Essay
  • Photo Gallery

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