Sonya, an art student, loves the med student Dieter. And Siegi, a factory worker, loves the bricklayer Eddie. At a lavish Carnival party at East Berlin’s art school an unintentional exchange of partners begins. When everyone takes off their masks, Dieter realizes that he did not spend the evening with Sonya, but with Siegi!
Director Slatan Dudow, a collaborator of Bertolt Brecht and Hanns Eisler, was a celebrated DEFA director, yet East German officials had problems with the film. They saw it as undermining their plan to bring together the intelligentsia and workers; they also objected to the film’s sensuality, which they perceived as a challenge to socialist morality. Campaigns that were organized against the film, however, could not prevent the light and fanciful romantic comedy from becoming a box office hit. The audience was intrigued by the upbeat musical score, the young, fresh faces on screen and the sensuous story line.
Content warning: This film contains racist imagery, in the form of a white protagonist wearing blackface at a carnival party.
- Biographies & Filmographies
- “A Case of Love Confused? Slatan Dudow’s Film as a Meditation on Art and Industry,” by Joshua Feinstein
- “Love Need Not Be Confusing: Youth and the New Socialist Woman in 1950s East Germany,” by Victoria Rizo Lenshyn, Amherst College
- “Making the Carnival Sets for the Film: An Interview with Dietmar Kuntzsch”
- Outer Space and the Everyday: A Short History of DEFA (Germany, 2018, dir. Betina Kuntzsch, 17 min., color, English subtitles)