+ subscribe
Subscribe now
Subscribe our newsletter now!

Winds of Change - From Cold War to the Peaceful Revolution 1989: Germany’s Long Road to Unity Through Cinema

Venue: Louis Koo Cinema, Hong Kong Arts Centre 
Date: 2020.01.09 - 2020.01.12
Price: $80 / $64*. Tickets will be available at URBTIX.  

Winds of Change - From Cold War to the Peaceful Revolution 1989: Germany’s Long Road to Unity Through Cinema


When the Berlin Wall fell in November 1989, people were singing and celebrating the newfound freedom for East Germany. The Cold War was ended, the socialist one-party regime of the GDR had to step down and the way was cleared for Germany’s reunification. The moving image programme Winds of Change depicts Germany’s long and winding road from the early years of the GDR to the peaceful revolution with six important films, exemplifying the courage, perseverance and faith that dramatically but also realistically led to the Germany today. These films, most of them by East German directors, have been appreciated for their genuine emotions and excellent crafts by German and global audiences alike. German historian Dr. Andreas Kötzing will visit Hong Kong to chat with the audience about the contemporary history of Germany and the Wind of Change film series.

Screening Schedule 
9/1 (Thu)    7:30pm    The Divided Heaven (Die geteilte Himmel)*
10/1 (Fri)    7:30pm    The Architects (Die Architekten)*
11/1 (Sat)   2:30pm    Saint Nicholas Church (Nikolaikirche)*
11/1 (Sat)   7:30pm    In Times of Fading Light (In Zeiten des abnehmenden Lichts)*
12/1 (Sun)  2:30pm    Love Between the Walls (Im Niemandsland)*
12/1 (Sun)  7:30pm    Good Bye, Lenin!

*with introduction and after-screening talk.


Germany in the Cold War

Opening Film: The Divided Heaven (Die geteilte Himmel)
Director: Konrad Wolf
East Germany | 1964 | 109' | In German with English subtitles | Blu-ray | B&W

Nominated for Best Film, Karlovy Vary International Film Festival 1964

9/1 (Thu) 7:30pm*
With introduction and post-screening talk
Even if the sky gets deeper
And you can’t see its scars

Right before the time of the Berlin Wall, Rita returns to her village in East Germany (GDR) to find peace and quiet after a nervous breakdown. Her memories stay afloat - of her past lover Manfred, her ambition to become a teacher and her factory work, “The city breathed heavier than usual that summer.” It was a time of political opportunists and ideological hardliners, the unspoken deceits of the East and the tantalising promise of the West.

This film was banned from time to time in the GDR, but remains as one of the bravest films of the former East German socialist state. Made with a newfound and explosive but brief creative freedom after the Wall was built in 1961, the making of this masterpiece was strongly influenced by the French New Wave.


Building the GDR

The Architects (Die Architekten)
Director: Peter Kahane
East Germany | 1990 | 102' | In German with English subtitles | DCP | Colour
Special Prize, National Feature Film Festival of the GDR 1990
Berlin International Film Festival 1991
10/1 (Fri) 7:30pm*
With introduction and post-screening talk
Despite the cold eyes and the ridicules
Never give up the ideals in your heart

After years of building bus shelters and phone booths, Daniel, an architect in his late thirties, is finally commissioned to build a major community centre on the fringe of East Berlin. Promised with a team of architects that he has chosen, he leads his old colleagues and friends to realise an ambitious design to counter the dull constructions of the GDR. With a conservative superior, a team that is falling apart and a wife who longs for the West, Daniel ponders on his country and its people.

This is the last film made by the GDR, and is one of the first films to depict the last days of the state during the transitional period of the unification. By the time the filming was finished, the GDR no longer existed.


The Peaceful Revolution and the End of the GDR

Saint Nicholas Church (Nikolaikirche)
Director: Frank Beyer
Germany | 1995 | 133' | In German with English subtitles | 35mm | Colour
Taipei Film Festival 2009
11/1 (Sat) 2:30pm*
With introduction and post-screening talk
No guns nor cannons   Only conversations
In 1988, the Monday prayers in Leipzig’s Saint Nicholas Church have gradually turned into gatherings of peaceful civilians expressing their want for changes in the GDR. Architect Astrid is also undergoing conflicts in her marriage, family and profession - she argues more with her brother Alexander, an officer in the Stasi (State Security Service). Grippingly realistic, the film portrays an East German family during the two years of Monday Demonstrations until their end in 1989, before the fall of the Berlin Wall.
Saint Nicholas Church is a TV film made by one of the most important East German directors, Frank Beyer. The story strives for historical truths and coherence of details, shedding light on the last days of the GDR.
In Times of Fading Light (In Zeiten des abnehmenden Lichts)
Director: Matti Geschonneck
Germany | 2017 | 100' | In German with English subtitles | DCP | Colour
Nominated for Best Actor, German Film Awards 2017
Berlin International Film Festival 2017
European Film Awards 2017
11/1 (Sat) 7:30pm*
With introduction and post-screening talk
I can only escape
Sascha has left his family in the GDR for the West clandestinely, while his family is celebrating the ninetieth birthday of his grandfather, Wilhelm, who is a hardline Stalinist suffering the early stages of dementia. Sascha has always assembled the old wooden table for the buffet for all the guests that present flowers and speeches. While Wilhelm does not know of the reason for Sascha’s tardiness, he grumpily sets up the uneasy table by force. How would the house party end up?

Adapted from Eugen Ruge's semi-autobiographical bestseller, the film has been highly praised by critics. In the words of Stephen Dalton of The Hollywood Reporter, “There is something emphatically old-school about [the director and screenwriter’s] shared creative approach with its lyrical language, beautifully lit interiors and forensically detailed recreation of domestic life in the old [GDR].”


The Fall of the Berlin Wall

Love Between the Walls (Im Niemandsland)
Director: Florian Aigner
Germany | 2019 | 92' | In German with English subtitles | DCP | Colour
Best Feature Film, Biberach Film Festival 2019
12/1 (Sun) 2:30pm*
With introduction, post-screening talk and Screen Talk. For more information on the Talk and a biography of Andreas Kötzing, please scroll down. 
Just find love on intuition
In the summer of 1990, as the two Germanies are in the midst of reunification, teenagers Katja and Thorben, from the East and West, fall in love for the first time. As their families are in a bitter feud for the house that has been expropriated under the changing government, the two lovers duck through the holes of the Berlin Wall, meeting in “No Man’s Land”, to sneak into each other’s embrace. With Germany’s old wounds and new prejudices, hopes and fears, the two teenagers fight for their love as they learn to understand life.

Heavily influenced by East German films, West German Florian Aigner’s first directorial fiction feature is a lookback at how history still affects his country’s politics, economy and society now. With manipulated and superficial differences of ideologies still lingering, the world is still intensely tackling international politicking and nailing down its bearings today.


Good Bye, Lenin!
Director: Wolfgang Becker
Germany | 2003 | 121' | In German with English subtitles | Blu-ray | Colour
Blue Angel Award for the Best European Film, Berlin International Film Festival 2003
European Film, Actor and Screenwriter, Audience Awards for Best Director, Best Actor and Best Actress, European Film Awards 2003
Nominated for Golden Berlin Bear Award, Berlin International Film Festival 2003
12/1 (Sun) 7:30pm
The risk of foregoing tenderness and artifice 
Residing in East Berlin in 1989, Christiane firmly believes that socialism could change the world for the better, but his son Alex gets arrested in an anti-government rally that demands for the fall of the Berlin Wall. Having learnt of the news, Christiane gets a heart attack and falls into a coma. After Alex has returned home while his mother is unconscious, the Wall falls and capitalism arrives. Because the doctor warns of the possible lethal consequence of stimulating Christiane, Alex and his cohorts mobilise their imagination to reconstruct a world around Christiane to make her believe that the GDR still exists.

This critically and popularly acclaimed tragicomedy moved local and international audiences to tears upon its release. It playfully and poignantly expresses that disorienting period of change and nostalgia, making it one of the most memorable films of German cinema.

Screen Talk: The Unexpected Fall of the Wall: The Dramatic Events of 89/90


The fall of the Berlin Wall in November 1989 was absolutely a surprise for German and global governments and for the world, although there were already telltale signs of the socialist model state’s façade cracking - a growing movement of opposition, Monday prayers, peaceful demonstrations and the mass flight over to Hungary amongst other traces. Historian Dr. Andreas Kötzing explains the reasons that led to the collapse of the GDR and shows how this is reflected in the films of the series Winds of Change.

Conducted in English
*To be presented with Love Between the Walls


About the speaker

Dr. Andreas Kötzing
Lecturer, German History, University of Leipzig
Research Fellow, Hannah Arendt Institute for Totalitarianism Studies (Dresden) 
Dr. Andreas Kötzing studied history and cultural studies and was a trainee at the Federal Agency for Civic Education (Bonn). His research focuses on German post-war history, and cultural and media history in the Cold War. He works as a freelance film journalist for various media outlets.


Tickets will be available at URBTIX on 9 Dec 2019.
Ticket prices: $80/ $64*, $100/$80* (Love Between the Walls & Screen Chat)

**20% off discount for full-time students, senior citizens aged 60 or above, people with disabilities and the minder and Comprehensive Social Security Assistance (CSSA) recipients. Tickets for CSSA recipients available on a first-come-first-served basis. Concessionary ticket holders must produce evidence of their identity or age upon admission.

**20% off discount to Goethe-Institut Hongkong’s students with a valid discount letter (Not applicable to internet and telephone booking)

**20% off for each purchase of 4 or more standard tickets.


Programme enquiries: 2802 0088 / 2582 0203
Credit card telephone booking: 2111 5999
Mobile ticketing app booking: My URBTIX (Android & iPhone versions)
Ticketing enquiries: 3761 6661 (10:00-20:00 Daily)
Internet booking: www.urbtix.hk

Website: www.goethe.de/hongkong | www.hkac.org.hk


While it is the HKAC’s policy to secure the best possible screening versions of our presented films, the HKAC appreciates our patrons’ understanding of the occasional less than perfect screening versions. Thank you for your kind consideration.


Co-Presenters: Hong Kong Arts Centre and Goethe-Institut Hongkong


Hong Kong Arts Centre – Moving Images 香港藝術中心:流動影像
Hong Kong Arts Centre
Goethe-Institut Hongkong


What's On
4/F, Hong Kong Arts Centre  
2022.05.25 - 2027.05.27
Public Arts
Cho Yiu Chuen 
2022.11.01 - 2024.11.30
Public Arts
Cho Yiu Chuen 
2022.11.01 - 2024.11.30