Born in '45 

Wednesday, Aug 9 2006

Divorce, East German–style, is the starting point of Born in ’45, in which cowriter and director Jürgen Böttcher gradually pulls back from the young couple at the story’s center to reveal an entire restless postwar generation unwilling to commit. When maternity-ward nurse Lisa calls it quits with Alfred, a 23-year-old auto mechanic stuck in self-absorbed adolescence, she moves into his mother’s basement, while Alfred takes up where he presumably left off, cruising East Berlin on his motorcycle and hanging out with his equally adrift friends. The write-up on the back of the DVD compares Böttcher’s black-and-white, hand-held photography to neorealism and the French New Wave, but if Böttcher was channeling Godard it was via the British mod flicks of the early 1960s, from the shaggy hair to the Beatle boots. If that sounds swinging, it is, sort of. Böttcher proves less interested in thrill-seeking itself than in the restlessness behind the hunt. He depicts each night on the town with long, sparse establishing shots that punctuate the lassitude that drives Alfred’s carousing. (Alfred gets so bored that, at one point, he cuts his vacation short to go back to work.) The film finally anticlimaxes in an extended sequence at a crowded dance hall where sozzled East German hipsters listlessly sway to a pop beat, marking time before the onrush of an empty future. East German officials banned the film in 1966, presumably for its racier moments, although Böttcher’s total lack of faith, or even interest, in politics may have made the censors just as nervous. Released by First Run Features, the disc includes an interview with director of photography Roland Gräf, a documentary on East German film censorship and an essay by film historian Rolf Richter.

—Paul Malcolm

Other recommended new releases: Airplane: The “Don’t Call Me Shirley” Edition (DVD); Hustle & Flow (DVD); Sealab 2021: Season 4 (DVD). Also released this week (DVD): Adam and Steve; Aeon Flux: Special Collector’s Edition; Anne of Avonlea; Barefoot Gen; Beautiful People: The Complete First Season; Brick; Bring It On: All or Nothing; Dante’s Cove: Season 1; Don’t Come Knocking; Elizabethtown; Farscape: Season 4, Collection 2 (Starburst Edition); The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air: The Complete Fourth Season; Gilles’ Wife; Heidi; The Hidden Blade; Inside Man; Laguna Beach: The Complete Second Season; Larry the Cable Guy: Health Inspector; Last Holiday; The Lost City; Noah’s Arc: The Complete First Season; Prison Break: Season One; Rolling Stones: Under Review; Third Man Out; Ultimate Avengers 2; The Wire: The Complete Third Season; Xiaolin Showdown: The Complete First Season.

click to enlarge 1704936.t.jpg

Related Stories

  • Aesthetic Perfection Returns to L.A.

    'Til Death is industrial act Aesthetic Perfection's crossover album, the one intended as much for the kids wearing neon as much as the kids wearing black PVC. It has strains of Depeche Mode, and Nine Inch Nails' early work. It hits the streets on February 11 through Metropolis Records.  Daniel...
  • A New Berlin Currywurst

    Grand Central Market downtown is adding new dining options at breakneck pace. In just the last ten months, we've seen the additions of Sticky Rice, Valerie at Grand Central Market, G&B Coffee, Horse Thief, DTLA Cheese and Eggslut. In the coming weeks Olio Pizzeria, Wexler's Deli and The Oyster Gourmet are also set to open. And today comes the announcement that Berlin...
  • Stations of the Cross Leading at the 2014 Berlin Film Festival

    Variety and The Hollywood Reporter, both of which publish special daily issues at the major international festivals, may be the most famous movie trade magazines. But every morning at any of these festivals, including Berlin, most critics I know - and probably plenty of industry people, too - turn to...
  • Henry Rollins: The West Berlin Cold Darkness 3

    Do you ever get the feeling, while living out your time in the Los Angeles area during January, where temperatures spike into the 80s and UPS personnel wear shorts, that you have struck a kind of Faustian bargain with the god of weather karma? That someday, you shall be plunged...
  • Lebensraum

    @ Art of Acting Studio

Related Content

Now Showing

  1. Wed 16
  2. Thu 17
  3. Fri 18
  4. Sat 19
  5. Sun 20
  6. Mon 21
  7. Tue 22

    Find capsule reviews, showtimes & tickets for all films in town.

    Sponsored by Fandor

Box Office

Scores provided by Rotten Tomatoes

Join My Voice Nation for free stuff, concert and dining info & more!


  • Nicolas Cage's 10 Best Movie Roles
    As video-on-demand continues to become the preferred route of distribution for a certain kind of independent film, much is being made of Nicolas Cage's willingness to slum for a paycheck, with recent examples including already-forgotten, small-screen-friendly items like Seeking Justice, Trespass, Stolen, and The Frozen Ground. (His character names in these projects -- Will Gerard, Kyle Miller, Will Montgomery, and Jack Halcombe -- are as interchangeable as the titles of the films.) Aside from citing the obvious appeal of doing work for money (a defense Cage himself brought up in a recent interview with The Guardian), it's also possible to back Cage by acknowledging the consistency with which he's taken on "serious" roles over the years.

    David Gordon Green's Joe, which hits limited release this weekend (more details on that here), marks the latest instance of this trend, with Cage giving a reportedly subdued performance as an ex-con named Joe Ransom. In that spirit, we've put together a rundown of some of the actor's finest performances, all of which serve as proof that, though his over-the-top inclinations may make for a side-splitting YouTube compilation, Cage has amassed a career that few contemporary actors can equal. This list is hardly airtight in its exclusivity, so a few honorable mentions ought to go out to a pair of Cage's deliriously uneven auteur collaborations (David Lynch's Wild at Heart, Brian De Palma's Snake Eyes), 1983's Valley Girl, 1987's Moonstruck, and Alex Proyas's Knowing (a favorite of the late Roger Ebert).

    --Danny King
  • Ten Enduring Conspiracy Thrillers
    With the approaching release this week of Captain America: The Winter Soldier, many critics, including L.A. Weekly’s own Amy Nicholson, have noted the film’s similarities (starting with the obvious: Robert Redford) to the string of conspiracy thrillers that dominated American cinema during the 1970s. With that in mind, we’ve compiled a list of ten of the most enduring entries in the genre -- most of them coming from the ‘70s, but with a few early-‘80s holdouts added in for good measure. This is by no means an exclusive list, and more recent films like Roger Donaldson’s No Way Out (1987), Jacques Rivette’s Secret Defense (1998), Tony Scott’s Enemy of the State (1998), Stephen Gaghan’s Syriana (2005), and Redford’s own The Company You Keep (2012) speak to how well the genre has sustained itself over time. Words by Danny King.
  • Behind the Scenes of Muppets Most Wanted
    "The endurance of the Muppets isn't just the result of the creative skills of Henson and collaborators like Frank Oz, or of smart business decisions, or of sheer dumb luck," writes this paper's film critic Stephanie Zacharek in her review of Muppets Most Wanted. "It's simply that the Muppets are just ever so slightly, or maybe even totally, mad. Man, woman, child: Who can resist them? Even TV-watching cats are drawn to their frisky hippety-hopping and flutey, gravely, squeaky, squawky voices." Go behind the scenes with the hippety-hopping Muppets with these images.

    Read our full Muppets Most Wanted movie review.

Now Trending