The German Film Office, Leo Baeck Institute, the German Consulate General in New York, Deutsches Haus at NYU, and Friends of Freiburg Alumni of North America are pleased to offer two rare films written and directed by German poet and dramatist Thomas Brasch for free streaming, as part of a program that seeks to re-introduce audiences to this remarkable artist and his story. The films will be available to stream across the United States.
Angels of Iron (1981) A historical drama set during the Berlin Blockade of 1948-1949 against the droning sounds of the Airlift, based on a true story. A 17-year-old hoodlum by the name of Gladow works hand in glove with a white-collar criminal to rob and pillage day and night, defying capture. The future casts a long shadow on these characters whose contradictions and confusion are emblematic for postwar Berlin.
The Passenger: Welcome to Germany (1988) A Hollywood filmmaker (a German-speaking Tony Curtis) returns to Germany where in 1942 he and other concentration camp prisoners were lured into participating in a Nazi propaganda film. He plans to make a documentary about the experience. A reflection about self-deception in the processing of guilt and the difficulty of coming to terms with the past through art.
Part of the Thomas Brasch Retrospective
Born in England to Kindertransport refugees who were active Communists – Thomas Brasch came to embody the fault lines of German history like few other artists. As his father Horst Brasch rose in the ranks of East Germany’s ruling Socialist Unity Party, Thomas became an uncompromisingly radical writer whose activism led to censorship and three months in prison. After his move to West Germany, he refused to play the role of GDR-dissident and focused his critique on West German society and German history in plays, poetry, and a series of brilliant but challenging films. Although he is highly regarded as a translator of Chekhov’s and Shakespeare’s works into German, none of Thomas Brasch’s major works have ever been published in English. His major films, jarring meditations on German history such as Der Passagier – Welcome to Germany (1988, starring Tony Curtis as a choleric Hollywood director who returns to Germany to make a film about his experience in a concentration camp), are rarely shown in the United States. This spring, LBI, the Goethe-Institut New York, The German Film Office, The German Consulate General in New York, Deutsches Haus at NYU, and the Friends of Freiburg Alumni of North America will re-introduce audiences to this remarkable artist and story.