German Film Club
Cooperation between Kedai Kebun Forum (KKF) and Goethe Institut Jakarta
Wednesday, 4 October 2017, 7.00 pm
Auditorium, Kedai Kebun Forum (KKF)
Jl. Tirtodipuran 3, Yogyakarta
Open for public and free
Director: Markus Dietrich, 2012/13, feature film, 83 minutes, German language with English subtitles
Cast: Flora Li Thiemann, Finn Fiebig, Luca Johannsen, Emil von Schönfels, Devid Striesow, Yvonne Catterfeld
A village in the German Democratic Republic in the fall of 1989, Friedericke with his beloved uncle and two friends were assembling a rocket. Suddenly their space game is disrupted, Mike once applied for permission to move abroad and now given a few hours to leave East Germany. Friedericke felt very lost, and in order to regain his uncle, he and his two friends tried to assemble a machine that capable of moving their uncle back to his village. But when she turn on the television, she saw the residents of her village being transferred to West Germany. It turned out that the Berlin wall had collapsed, but Friedericke did not know it yet. SPUTNIK is a children’s film about the last weeks of the GDR.
At first, it all seems quite patriotic in Malkow, a village in the GDR in the autumn of 1989. Under the guidance of her beloved Uncle Mike, Friederike and her friends are building a rocket, with which they plan to send a message of peace to the cosmonauts in space. Then reality strikes this phantasy world. The young girl is unintentionally lifted into the air by a balloon and the short flight ends with a crash landing – the police are also there. Launching a balloon could indicate an attempt to flee the Republic. The young would-be cosmonauts of the “Pioneers” youth organisation are severely reprimanded. And the omnipresent village policeman and “VoPo municipal officer” Mauder observes ten-year-old Friederike with humourless distrust.
It gets even worse: Mike is forced to leave the GDR in a mad rush – he had applied for an exit visa and is unexpectedly and suddenly deported to the West. He is now out of touch with Friederike and, under the circumstances, she won’t be able to see him again until she’s reached retirement. The girl has no intention of giving up. Instead, she follows the example of Western science fiction films and plans to build a machine, with which she can beam her uncle from the West back to the GDR. More and more residents leave Malkow. Even Friederike’s parents, who run the local inn, are discussing possible ways of leaving the country. November has arrived. It was a time when many citizens of the GDR had attempted to reach the West by going through Hungary or other neighbouring countries. But the girl wants to stay. She’s not interested in the news about the demonstrations taking place in the GDR, but only in the construction of the beamer. She needs to get parts for the machine from the village shop, but she also steals car mirrors and batteries, and even has to break into the village policeman’s house. The machine is ready on 9 November 1989. Its activation brings chaos to the village. Suddenly, it appears as though Friederike has unintentionally beamed all the inhabitants of the village to the West. The girl has no idea that the Berlin Wall has fallen that evening.
SPUTNIK is a children’s film about the last weeks of the GDR, consistently told from the young protagonists’ perspective, who are oblivious to the world’s political events. The filmmaker Markus Dietrich was the same age as his young heroine when the Wall fell. “The Fall of the Wall wasn’t a world-changing event for me, but the best adventure ever. And that’s exactly how I see SPUTNIK. From a child’s perspective, it’s an adventure. During the course of normal life and the everyday reality in the autumn of 1989. Although there were signs of change, which even the children could feel, Friederike, Fabian and Jonathan’s principal goal was to bring back a loved one. And that places them smack dab in the centre of world events.”(Markus Dietrich)
Markus Dietrich was born in Strausberg in 1979. He studied Theatre Studies for a short period in Berlin. He received a scholarship from the German National Academic Foundation that same year, before starting a course in Media Design at the Bauhaus University in Weimar in 2002. Parallel to his studies, he worked as a script developer for “ostlicht filmproduction”, worked as an assistant to filmmaker Gordian Maugg and made a number of short films. Between 2007 and 2008, he was a director and scholarship holder of the Thalia Theatre in Halle and worked on several more projects there as a director until 2011. Dietrich’s short films MEIN ROBODAD and OUTSOURCING celebrated their world premieres at the Cannes Film Festival. SPUTNIK is his first feature-length film.
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