When You're Older, Dear Adam

(Wenn du groß bist, lieber Adam)

GDR, 1966/1990, 74 min, Color
In German; English subtitles
Credits:
Director
Script
Dramaturg
Editor
Camera
Set Design
Costume Design
Music (Score)
Cast

Synopsis

Nine-year-old Adam lives alone with his father while his mother studies out of town. He is a clever boy with an active imagination. One day, a grateful swan gives him a magic flashlight. When its rays shine on someone who is lying, the person floats up into the air! Adam and his father decide to produce more of these flashlights, but no one is interested in buying them, least of all the politicians.

 

Before Günther's comedy was canceled during production in February 1966 and also partially destroyed afterwards, officials had already censored the film script. When restorers later worked on the film’s release after the fall of the Wall in 1989, they discovered that passages of the dialog—presumably found as being too subversive—had been removed from the soundtrack. Instead of hiding this aggressive form of censorship, they decided to mark these passages with inserts.

Awards

1990 FIPRESCI Prize – Honorable Mention, Forum of New Cinema, Berlin International Film Festival
1990 Interfilm Award – Honorable Mention, Forum of New Cinema, Berlin International Film Festival

Press comments

“The film was inspired by the Czechoslovakian film Až přijde kocour (When the Cat Comes) by Vojtěch Jasný. The Prague film spring did not remain without influence on DEFA back then.”
 —Der Spiegel, 1990

 

“The mixture of phantasy and moral values is reminiscent of children’s books by Erich Kästner, the satirical wit of Czech films, and the effortlessness of French comedies.”
 —F.-B. Habel, Das grosse Lexikon der DEFA-Spielfilme

 

“…funny, lighthearted with cheerful naïveté and a touch of neo-romantic Mocca-Milk-Icecream-Bar poetry.”                                   — Henryk Goldberg, Filmspiegel

 

“DEFA never again produced such a carefree and innocent comedy as this!” —Erika Richer, film historian

 

“A charming, cheeky criticism of society.” —Cinema.de

 

“The film openly revealed many taboos and was a feat of courageous daring. That’s why it remains so carefree and fresh to this day. […] The film has a humorous effect, because the criticism wasn’t presented in a viciously or overly strident way, rather with playful fun.” —Rolf Richter, film historian

 

 

“…funny, lighthearted with cheerful naïveté and a touch of neo-romantic Mocca-Milk-Icecream-Bar poetry.”  — Henryk Goldberg, Filmspiegel

 

 

 

 

 

 

Availability

Special features:
  • New digitally restored transfer
  • Biographies & Filmographies
  • “A Process of Searching: When You’re Older, Dear Adam,” by Lukas Foerster, film historian
  • “A Photogenic Set Design,” by art historian Marcus Becker, Humboldt University Berlin
  • “Released 25 Years Later,” by Erika Richter and Rolf Richter, film historians

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