Film and Discussion

"Vaterlandsverräter" ("Traitor of his native land")

Film Director Annekatrin Hendel (Source: Beate Nelken)
Roland Jahn, Federal Commissioner for the Files of the State Security Service of the former German Democratic Republic (BStU) (Source: RBB)

Germany 2011 | 97 min.

Directed by: Annekatrin Hendel

With: Paul Gratzik, Matthias Hering, Ernstgeorg Hering, Ursula Karusseit, Raphaela Schröder, Günter Wenzel, Renate Biskup, Antje Mauksch, Gabriele Dietze

"The greatest enemy in all the land is and remains the informant." This saying of his mother"™s has remained with author Paul Gratzik throughout his life. Beginning in very humble circumstances he rose to become a celebrated representative of the GDR literature scene in the 1970"™s.  Even with these words ringing in his ears, he worked unofficially for the GDR state security service (Stasi) for twenty years and wrote reports about friends and supporters such as Heiner Mueller, Steffie Spira and Ernstgeorg Hering.  In the early 1980"™s Gratzik stopped working for the Stasi, came "out of the closet" and himself became target of Stasi-observation.  VATERLANDSVERRAETER is a portrait in film of a man "with a loud being" who was convinced by communism and whose life was a back and forth between extremes.  The first time in over 20 years since the end of the GDR that such a story has been told in this way.

 

Annekatrin Hendel has successfully reconstructed a life, that of a man who, now standing at the end of this life, we find ourselves having to curse and like at the same time.  In the making of the film she travels with him through important stations of his life and experiences the difficulties of his every-day life.  We hear from a former love, his grown children, friends, colleagues, his leading officer and an informant who is later set on his case.

 

And of course we hear from Grazik himself, his memories, his texts and the Stasi reports he wrote.  We have the fine, sensitive touch of the filmmaker Hendel to thank that Grazik, who talks like a waterfall, does not have to conform to any level of expectation in the film. And also her patience "“ that he does speak with her, yet may remain true to his torn nature and stubbornness.  Annekatrin Hendel waives any claim to presenting the "moral of the story" from the very beginning, and can in summary live with the offender and the victim being neutralized in one person to "human being."

Source: EDITION SALZGEBER | Juliane Voigt

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After the film: Discussion with Film Director Annekatrin Hendel , Roland Jahn (BStU) and the czech author Pavel Kohout

Thursday 3.5. 8.00 p.m. Kronenkino, Zittau