Trace of the Times - The Director Frank Beyer

(Spur der Zeiten - Der Regisseur Frank Beyer)

Germany, 1997, 60 min, color/b&w
In German; no subtitles


A slightly melancholy tone drives this film, which shows Frank Beyer in a period of a contemplation and self-awareness. Beyer’s extensive filmography is viewed today as a greater reflection of DEFA and and even East Germany itself.


Born in 1932, Beyer experienced the end of World War II and is a member of the generation which was given support and training by the new German state. Beyer studied at the Prague Academy of Arts (FAMU) and his large body of films, such as Five Cartridges (1960), Star-Crossed Lovers (1962), Naked Among Wolves (1963), Trace of Stones (1966), Jacob the Liar (1974), Turning Point (1983), and Nikolai Church (1995) have made him one of the most productive German directors, as well as one respected for his integrity.


It was this integrity that propelled Beyer, then a party member, to challenge the predominant state doctrine.  The consequences of this for him were deeply emotional and led to an eventual break with the party. When he was barred from working for DEFA, he took a directing position in West Germany.  However, he always called DEFA his true home. 


This film, created by Ullrich Kasten and Ralf Schenk, paints a portrait of a man whose life story is important not only in the realm of film-making, but also because of its insights into 50 years of German history.


It is available for purchase as a special feature on the DVD of Jacob the Liar.


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