Freundschaft! The Free German Youth Movement
Filmfest 2008

FREUNDSCHAFT! THE FREE GERMAN YOUTH MOVEMENT shows the coming of age of a now-failed nation, the German Democratic Republic, through the eyes of its official youth group, the Free German Youth (Freie Deutsche Jugend). Once an ersatz family for post-war German children, the FDJ was crafted into a tool of indoctrination for the nation’s Communist ruling party, the SED, by eventual East German premier Erich Honecker. Forgoing narration, the film relies on interviews with three generations of FDJ members to tell the history, evolution and demise of this political scout troop. Current German parliamentarians, rock stars and journalists recall their joy at first slipping into the club’s blue uniform, the mind-numbing drills of FDJ summer camps and the ultimate disappointment at discovering they had become little more than a tool of the Politburo. The film sidesteps nostalgia to illuminate a youth group that was destined for failure while highlighting the clash of ideologies that continues to shape a reunified Germany. Production Notes

With: Lothar Bisky, Andreas Dresen, Chris Hinze, Anja Kling

tags: Documentary


Director: Lutz Hachmeister, Mathias von der Heide