Cinema Scope

Bigtime

had been living in Berlin for a year when, in 2012, I received an email with the subject line, “bigtime.” The email read, “Since you mentioned you should really watch this documentary that was filmed a year after the Wall came down,” and came with a Vimeo link. Someone had uploaded the entire , a 75-minute-long documentary by German director Petra Tschörtner and one of the last works produced by the GDR’s film institute, the DEFA, in 1991. The film mentioned in the email—in English, , by Georg Tressler—was the East German response to . Released in 1956 to critical and public acclaim, it prompted the DEFA to quickly provide the East German audience with an “authorized” version, which hit the cinemas the following year. The “adaptation,” titled (directed by Gerhard Klein), revolved around a posse of youngsters committed to petty crime and disturbing the peace. Their meeting point and the main setting of the film is the corner—“Ecke”—by the same name, in the Prenzlauer Berg district in northeast Berlin, at the crossing between a main arterial road and the Eberswalder Straße subway, where the train emerges over ground to continue its

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