A Stasi Comedy (115 minutes), part of the German Film Festival
East German’s Stasi (Ministry for State Security) operated from 1950 to 1990.
The secretive police agency had a notorious reputation for spying on the country’s populace.
A Stasi Comedy sends it up … and does so with some panache.
We start in the present day when Ludger Fuchs (Jorg Schuttauf), a former dissident and celebrated author, finally gets the opportunity to view his personal file.
That consists of documents and photos collected on him by the intelligence body.
To mark the occasion, Fuchs' wife Corinna (Margarita Broich) organises a surprise family party, but all doesn't go according to plan.
Fuchs reflects on exactly what went down in the early 1980s ... and it is colourful, to say the least.
That was when a significantly young Fuchs (David Kross) was engaged by the Stasi.
He was introduced to the fold by his commanding officer (Henry Hubchen).
Fuchs' job, and that of his three inept, layabout colleagues, was to infiltrate the counterculture scene of the Prenzlauer Berg district.
It was a breeding ground for artists, bohemians and free-thinking radicals.
Almost exposed on his first assignment, Fuchs finds a pleasurable way to maintain his cover.
Before long, he has fallen for two women – Corinna (Antonia Bill), a member of the "subversive" peace movement and Natalie (Deleila Piasko), a beautiful, bold and brazen neighbour.
A Stasi Comedy is a clever film that paints the former repressive organisation as officious and bungling, with arrogant leadership.
Slapstick is part of the offering, which some will, no doubt, welcome more than others.
The love triangle certainly adds a bit of spice.
There’s a lot going on, so unless you concentrate, you risk losing threads of the unfolding story.
I appreciated the writing and direction from Leander Haussmann and the acting of the leads.
David Kross readily captures the incredulity required to inhabit the role of the young Fuchs, whose Stasi career could well have been over before it began.
I also liked the portrayal of the passionate, free-spirited young women who became part of his life. So, too the quandary of Fuchs’ friend from bygone days.
Henry Hübchen acts up as Ludger’s boss and minder. I got the impression that he enjoyed the exaggeration he brought to the persona.
Suffice to say the effectiveness of the parody of the furtive entity certainly wasn’t lost on me.
A Stasi Comedy is playing as part of the German Film Festival and scores a 7 – 7½ out of 10.
For more information about the Festival and to book tickets, go to: https://germanfilmfestival.com.au