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|Laufzeit:||Approx. 101 min.|
|FSK:||From 0 years|
When the Berlin Wall fell, it was a very special moment for people all over Germany and for politics in Europe - a moment that filmmaker Roland Blum wanted to document. After all, after the opening of the borders and shortly before reunification, the former GDR was exposed to a drastic and rapid change that Blum wanted to capture with his camera. He found a country on the verge of ecological collapse. Shocked by the desolate treatment of the environment, Blum concentrated primarily on this aspect of life in the new federal states, which he visited again in 2001 and 2013. The shots he captured during his three journeys through the former GDR actually document a change that in many places has been good for nature, but has been detrimental to the inhabitants.
Blum's film "Mitgift" (dowry) shows how the end of great environmental sinners such as lignite mines or film producers (apparently) allowed nature to blossom again, while at the same time plunging the regions into high unemployment and a lack of prospects for local residents. The example of the region around Bitterfeld in particular shows in a sometimes frightening way on which levels the change of a country can take place. When Blum first visited the area in 1990, environmental protection was still in its infancy. There are plans to attract new investors and residents to the region. At the same time, however, so much rubbish and pollutants were discharged into the waters without a plan that even 2000 workers still had to wear protective suits during renovation work and photos could only be taken from a safe distance with a telephoto lens. Today this area is a nature reserve and the flooded opencast mines around Bitterfeld are the largest artificial lake landscape in Germany.
In Wolfen, on the other hand, the changes have caused unemployment to rise and many people have moved away from the region. Given the circumstances under which people had to work in the ailing film factory, the question arises as to whether this superficially negative development should not also be seen in a positive light. It is a very complex subject that Blum deals with in his long-term documentation. The fact that change, no matter whether you personally perceive it as positive or negative, is possible even when you no longer believe in it, becomes impressively clear from the shots around Bitterfeld.
No question, "Mitgift" is a very interesting, sometimes also entertaining and quite important film. Whether the documentary, produced in collaboration with HR and SWR, should definitely be shown in the cinema is a different matter. Even though there are some very nice shots of the 2013 footage, the film doesn't gain quality when you see it on the screen, nor does its message lose its power of persuasion when you just watch it on the TV screen. The documentary is always worth seeing, but in the end rather as a TV product than as a movie!
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