Moral drama in 19th-century West Prussia
Screenplay and director: Horst Seemann GDR 1980, feature film, German OV Production: DEFA Feature Film Studios Distribution: DEFA-Stiftung, Berlin Based on: Levins Mühle by Johannes Bobrowski Cinematography: Hans-Jürgen Kruse Editing: Bärbel Bauersfeld Cast: Erwin Geschonneck, Katja Paryla, Christina Grashof, Jonka Iliewa, Fred Düren, Käthe Reichel, Peter Szalawski
Germans, Poles, Jews, and Romanies live side by side in a small village near the Lower Vistula in West Prussia in the 1870s. Johann, the wealthy German owner of a mill, doesn’t like the fact that Levin, who is Jewish, also mills grain in a mill of his own. Believing that the authorities will be on the side of the Germans, he opens the weir one night, and Levin’s mill is washed away. But his plan works out only in part. Resigned after losing in court, Levin flees with his girlfriend Marie, who is Romany. But Johann isn’t happy, either. The upstanding villagers stand together in solidarity and unite in morally condemning him. He too leaves the village for the county seat and retires. (Source: Das zweite Leben der Filmstadt Babelsberg. DEFA-Spielfilme 1946-1992, slightly revised)
2nd National Feature Film Festival of the GDR Karl-Marx-Stadt (1982): Special Award for Horst Seemann for his dedicated work against intolerance and chauvinism
ZWISCHEN PANKOW UND ZEHLENDORF (DE 1991) ÄRZTINNEN (DDR 1984) BEETHOVEN – TAGE AUS EINEM LEBEN (DDR 1976) SCHÜSSE UNTERM GALGEN (DDR 1968) HOCHZEITSNACHT IM REGEN (DDR 1967)
Horst Seemann (1937-2000) began his career with DEFA with the highly successful satirical series “Stacheltier” (“Porcupine”). In the late 1960s he began making feature films, earning his reputation with literary film adaptations. Seemann was one of the GDR’s most renowned directors. LEVIN’S MILL is based on the book by Johannes Bobrow ski and was Seemann’s best-known work.
In cooperation with Deutsches Kulturforum östliches Europa Introduction: Lihi Nagler