Roman einer jungen Ehe was by no means Maetzig's first attempt to tackle the relationship between art and politics on screen. However, not everybody was quite so convinced by its quality, for as Maetzig recalls:. Maetzig did not disagree fundamentally with Brecht's damning verdict. For as in so many of Maetzig's subsequent films, Ehe im Schatten explores the question of individual moral responsibility generally, and here in particular, the responsibility of the artist at a moment of political crisis.
At one level, her performance represents an act of release by an artist who, for years, has been denied the opportunity to perform on stage; but at another, it serves as a pessimistic commentary on the failure of classical humanist art to engage with the demands of the contemporary political situation and offer an escape from the impasse in which she finds herself.
Seen in this light, it is perhaps hardly surprising that Brecht whose hostility to Schillerian pathos is well documented should dismiss the film so summarily. While Ehe im Schatten serves as a warning to those both Jewish and Gentile who would see art as a transcendent realm into which it is possible to withdraw from the contingencies of everyday fascism, it contains within it a paradox that, ultimately, remains unresolved.
In Maetzig's view the problem lay in the tendency of DEFA's scriptwriters to see love solely as an escapist phenomenon rooted in essentially bourgeois attitudes.
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In this programmatic statement the ideological underpinning of Roman einer jungen Ehe , is clearly discernible. For here, as in so many of Maetzig's other films, it is the female protagonist who guides her male counterpart to an understanding — and acceptance — of a radically alternative social structure.
However, as Maetzig was to discover, the subordination of romantic love to the demands of political ideology was an approach that cinema audiences in the East had difficulty warming to; and of the two films he had constructed around the theme of marriage, critics and audiences alike showed a marked preference for the more conventional approach of the earlier Ehe im Schatten.
Yet what critics at the time saw as a weakness is precisely what makes the film so fascinating for film historians today. Although Roman einer jungen Ehe is often regarded as a symptom of, rather than solution to, the difficulties DEFA was experiencing in the early s, it remains, as Detlef Kannapin has also suggested, a vital source of information about attitudes towards the Cold War in the founding years of the GDR. The first such work is Lessing's Nathan der Weise. For the cultural theorists of the Third Reich, Lessing's work had occupied an ambiguous position in the National Socialist literary canon.
Although plays such as Die Juden and Nathan der Weise disappeared from the theatrical repertoire and school reading lists, Lessing's standing in the tradition of German letters meant that other works such as Philotas and Minna von Barnhelm were reinterpreted and assimilated into the prevailing ideologies of heroism and nation.
Unserer Klassik ist niemals eine klassische Politik gefolgt.
The initial enthusiasm for this type of cultural agenda was reflected in the numerous productions of Nathan der Weise in the years —9. Maetzig's decision to focus on a production in the West in rather than the East in is symptomatic of a growing desire in the East to expose the limitations of classical bourgeois humanism as a means of tackling the legacy of fascism, and to move towards more contemporary forms of drama. The brief extract from Act 3 Scene 2 of Nathan der Weise that is embedded in Roman einer jungen Ehe encapsulates the overall structure of Maetzig's film.
Following this scene, the Templar, a figure whose rescue of the Jewess Recha is motivated by a deep love of humanity in general, is plunged into turmoil by the conflict between his loyalty to his Christian roots on the one hand, and his love for the Jewess on the other. However, by revealing the Templar and Recha to be brother and sister, Lessing brings about a harmonious resolution to this potential conflict. The parallel with the relationship between Jochen and Agnes in Roman einer jungen Ehe is compelling.
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While the inclusion of Nathan der Weise highlights the limitations of classical bourgeois humanism in tackling the legacy of fascism, the next project on which both Jochen and Agnes are involved underlines the importance of taking control of the institutions through which cultural values are transmitted.
It is also no coincidence that around the time the film was conceived in late , the studio management at DEFA was actively seeking to dispense with employees who continued to live in the West and who, in their eyes, were thus unwilling to commit themselves unequivocally to the East. From this point on the film's cultural references are restricted to works that underscore, rather than transcend, the ideological differences between the two emerging states. It is hardly surprising that Zuckmayer's play should feature so prominently in Roman einer jungen Ehe , for during the years —50 it was the most performed drama in the British and American zones of Germany with well over 3, performances; 20 by contrast, in the East — where the play's positive depiction of Harras and the Wehrmacht provoked outrage — performances were not permitted.
Agnes, by contrast, opts for a role in Constantin Simonov's The Russian Question , , a work that, historically speaking, was first performed in a German version on 3 May at Wolfgang Langhoff's Deutsches Theater in the East. While Zuckmayer and Simonov are situated unambiguously at opposite ends of the political spectrum, Sartre's role in the cultural politics of the Cold War was considerably more complex. Alexander Dymschitz the Soviet cultural officer with close connections to DEFA was just one of a number of critics in the Soviet zone who accused Sartre of a reactionary concept of freedom rooted in anarchic individualism.
While it might well be argued that — even in Fehling's Berlin production of Les mouches — no contemporary reference to Stalin and the Soviet Communist Party was implied, Sartre's portrayal of Illyria and the question of political assassination in Les mains sales was a very different matter. The execution of the Rosenbergs for conspiracy to commit espionage and for allegedly supplying the Soviet Union with information concerning atomic weapons had also featured briefly in the sixth edition of Der Augenzeuge in Maetzig's handwritten record of a discussion on 24 July with Alfred Wilkening, Falk Harnack, and Slatan Dudow reveals that all three regarded the sequence in question as one of the film's weakest elements, and proposed cutting it radically.
Solche schematischen Darstellungen finden sich besonders in den Massenszenen unserer Filme. It would be only a matter of time before the sentimentalised projection of the relationship between ordinary working people on the one hand, and GDR artists and intelligentsia on the other, would be exposed for the fantasy it was. In the uprising of June — just eighteen months after the film's release — those construction workers who, in the fictional world of Maetzig's film, had applauded Agnes so enthusiastically, went on strike.
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The pages he burns are torn from the book which semiotics professor Umberto Eco has overwritten - like a palimpsest of the history of western philosophy and literature - with his mystery novel , "The Name of the Rose".. The pages he burns are torn from the book which semiotics professor Umberto Eco has overwritten - like a palimpsest of the history of western philosophy and literature - with his mystery novel , " The Name of the Rose "..
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I ve always enjoyed both the classic American Private Detective Novel and the classic British Crime Novel , and using those two characters let me, in effect, write both sorts of novel, and play with the conventions of each, within the covers of one book.. Starring international screen star Guy Pearce Memento, Mildred Pierce as Jack Irish, this TV movie cycle based on the crime novels by Peter Temple offers a collection of suspense-filled whodunits with a charismatic lead and charming secondary characters..
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His crime novels are affectionate yet socially critical descriptions of modern Greek society.. A crime novel set to music — a drama in which love and addiction are mixed into a fatal brew.. More than 60 of his screenplays have been turned into films, many of them for the German television series Tatort and Polizeiruf Are you currently working on any other projects and can you tell us something about them?. Revolving around a tight-knit team of specialists, the hardcore thrillers explore the darkest sides of society, everywhere..
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