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By Frederic and Mary Ann Brussat
Singing the Blues in Red
Directed by Ken Loach
JCI Video 1987 DVD/VHS Feature Film
In this film, Klaus Drittemann (Gerulf Pannach), an East German who writes and sings protest songs, leaves his homeland after the government forbids him to perform. In West Berlin, a large record company and some conservative politicians are eager to exploit his defection from Communism. A true rebel at heart, Klaus has no intention of allowing these individuals to write the script of his life in the West.
Leaving his new recording contract unsigned, he heads off to England, accompanied by a journalist (Febienne Babe) who has located his father in Cambridge. Klaus has not seen him since he was a small child. Their encounter helps the songwriter come to terms with his new identity as an artist and as a politically savvy individual.
The screenplay for Singing the Blues in Red by Trevor Griffiths (Reds) is filled with incisive observations about the repressiveness of authoritarian socialist regimes, the decadence of capitalism, and the varied ways in which men and women are forced to sell their souls in order to survive in both the East and the West. Two slogans appear on the screen in the film: “Stalinism is not socialism,” and “capitalism is not freedom.” Director Ken Loach has made a sophisticated political film which is both insightful and engaging.
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by Frederic and Mary Ann Brussat
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