T. alt.: Malki taini / Erinnerungen am Morgen. Scen.: Anžel Vagenštajn, Wolfgang Staudte. F.: Wolf Wirth. M.: Rosemarie Kubera. Scgf.: Iskra Litschewa. Mus.: Miltscho Lewiew. Int.: Reinhild Solf (Gisela Stein), Apostol Karamitev (ispettore Damyanov), Karl Michael Vogler (Walter Riemeck), Ewa Strömberg (Britta), Anni Bakalowa (Zora), Konstantin Kotzew (Balas), Heinz Meier (Lothar Kunze), Maja Dragomanska (Binka), Jürgen Rehmann (Hans Brusse), Katrin Schaake (Margot Riemeck). Prod.: Wolfgang Staudte per Cineforum GmbH, Kinocenter Bojana 35mm
Heimlichkeiten was a project Wolfgang Staudte strongly believed in, so much so that he put hundreds of thousands of his own money into it – to lose it all when the film failed at the box office. From then on until his death, he was mainly working for the banks – quite literally: he passed away only weeks after the final instalment was paid. That’s usually the only thing that one hears about the film, partly as it has only rarely been screened since its original release.
In fact, Heimlichkeiten is a fascinating sight to behold, as Staudte attempted to make his version of a New German Cinema-film – he even hired the junior auteurs’ artisan fétiche Wolf Wirth as the project’s director of photography. And it shows: no other film by Staudte looks so glossy, mellow and suave. The film channels the endless Balkan cool of Bulgarian star Apostol Karamitev whose Inspector Damjanov pushes the art of laidback investigation to new extremes. In fact, the film moves ahead with an even more decelerated, heatwave pace than originally planned as Staudte couldn’t finish the production’s main shoot in Varna. The forces of the Warsaw Pact invaded the ČSSR, which saw most of his Bulgarian staff vanish overnight, some because they were called to arms, most others because the general situation had become too dicey. The Germans, accordingly, left the country pronto. And so, Staudte was forced to work with what he had, which made the finished film even more fragmentary and jagged than was already intended by him and his co-author, Anžel Vagenštajn – who here, as already once before with Joachim Hasler’s DEFA crime masterpiece Chronik eines Mordes (The Story of a Murder, 1965), looks at the FRG’s unfinished business with the Nazi-past as well as the Hallstein Doctrine-present. In this mosaic of crimes and small lies that are more analysed than investigated and solved, we find the following tiles: an East-West-German couple enjoying an extramarital affair, a former Wehrmacht soldier back at the scene of his crimes, and a musician from the West whose dalliances with a local beauty are not looked upon kindly…