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Die Flucht

Dr. Schmith (Armin Mueller-Stahl), a senior physician with little interest in politics, feels professionally set back because his research project to reduce infant mortality is blocked at a higher service level. Frustrated, he contacts an escape aid organization in order to abscond to the West. When the clinic suddenly gives the green light for his project after all, he wants to stay. The situation escalates.

Director Roland Gräf was not one of the rebellious GDR artists; he did not participate in the protests against Biermann's expatriation. It was all the more surprising that his film addressed the taboo subject of fleeing the GDR. While Die Flucht won the top prize at the Karlovy Vary film festival, East German critics could not bring themselves to praise it unreservedly. Gräf was accused of "privatizing" the conflict, and there was also talk of an unnecessary "action character" in the plot. Lead actor Armin Mueller-Stahl, who had signed the Biermann petition, applied to leave the country during the filming of Die Flucht. (cl)