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The Rabbit is Me (1965)

Alfred muller , Angelika Walller , Kurt Maetzig  |  Unrated |  DVD
4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)


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Product Details

  • Actors: Alfred muller, Angelika Walller
  • Directors: Kurt Maetzig
  • Format: Black & White, NTSC, Subtitled, Widescreen
  • Language: German
  • Subtitles: English
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.66:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated: Unrated
  • Studio: FIRST RUN FEATURES
  • DVD Release Date: March 25, 2008
  • Run Time: 109 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B0010YSDBS
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #428,102 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)

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Editorial Reviews

Product Description

A young woman works as a waitress because she is unable to pursue a real career after her brother is arrested for his political activities. She has an affair with an older man, who turns out to be the judge who sentenced her brother. Banned for exposing the realities of East German society, The Rabbit Is Me finally saw the light of day after reunification. and was praised as one of the most important German films ever.

Review

Fresh, saucy sarcastic humor and a fluid camera.....clearly influenced by the new wave cinema. --Greencine

Extraordinary, head-on collisiion stuff!! --Guardian (UK)

Interesting in its thoughtfulness, naturalism, and the independent-minded strength of its young, blond, not-at-all-dumb heroine. --San Francisco Bay Guardian

Customer Reviews

4.7 out of 5 stars
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4.7 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
12 of 12 people found the following review helpful
Format:DVD
"Each ruling class sees its positive law as natural law...as divine providence," says one character in The Rabbit Is Me, an East German film made in 1965 during a brief lull in Walter Ulbricht's heavy-handed repression. Or put another way, each ruling class, given half a chance, will use the law to advance its own careers, its prestige and its place in power.

The lull ended with the East German Communist Party's 11th Congress held in December, 1965. The hammer came down hard on anything remotely resembling economic or cultural unreliability. For movies, many films made during the easing of rules in 1965, including The Rabbit Is Me, were summarily banned before they could be released. The Rabbit Is Me was never seen until 1990. The wonder is that the East German authorities ever approved the film in the first place.

Maria Morzeck is an 18-year-old student who works as a waitress and plans to go to college to become an interpreter or a travel agent. She's played by 21-year-old Angelika Waller in her first film. Waller looks a bit like Debbie Reynolds. She has a figure like Marilyn Monroe's. And she's a much better actress than either. Then Maria's brother is arrested for an unspecified crime and sentenced to three years in jail. In short order, as the sister of a subversive, her chance for college vanishes. She resigns herself to working as a waitress, but she also is determined to get her brother released. Call it dramatic coincidence, but it works...she happens to meet the judge who sentenced her brother. He's a handsome man in his forties named Paul Deister (Alfred Muller). It's not long before Maria decides to accept Deister's attentions. He's a nice guy, she tells herself, and we see that he is. He even seems to be nice to his wife.
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Format:DVD
I stumbled across this film in my local library & was intrigued by both its story & history, so I checked it out. A lucky day for me! In its tale of an apolitical young woman whose brother is sentenced to three years in prison for subversion -- though she never learns the actual particulars of his so-called crime -- we're given a sardonic, knowing look at the bureaucratic, authoritarian monolith of any corrupt legal system, complete with hypocrisy & career-building in the name of justice. The story takes a fascinating turn when young Maria falls in love with the judge who sentenced her brother & becomes his mistress, even as she continues to file appeal after appeal for a pardon. The personal becomes the political, and vice versa, as the always independent & clear-eyed Maria becomes unable to reconcile the gentle man she loves & his harsh judicial persona -- or is the persona actually the real person?

Filmed in 1965, but banned & unseen until 1990, the film is a gorgeous, intelligent work that's the equal of many acclaimed European films of the same period. Its political & cultural critique is all the more powerful for being so subtly & humorously depicted -- this is no heavy-handed lecture, but cinematic art. And as a previous reviewer noted, it remains a frighteningly relevant film in an America that can arrest its citizens & hold them forever if it so chooses, in the name of "security". It may have begun life as an unblinking examination of East Germany in 1965, but it also has much wider contemporary applications.

One thought that struck me while watching it was that American films of 1965 usually looked at the lives of teenaged girls with films like "Beach Blanket Bingo" -- a far & pathetic cry from this fresh, naturalistic, thoroughly mature story.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Its Message is Very Relevant....Even Today.... March 19, 2013
Format:DVD
"Das kaninchen bin ich" ("The Rabbit is Me") is a film from the GDR (the former East-Germany) that was banned upon its initial release in 1965 and did not see the light of day until after reunification (1990). Here filmmaker Kurt Maetzig dared to show and critique the repressive Totalitarian state and society of East-Germany. 'Maria Morzeck' (Angelika Waller) is an intelligent and positive young-woman whose education and career goal to become a Russian interpreter suddenly comes to a halt when her brother is accused and convicted of crimes against the State (he is sentenced to 3 years). She soon realizes that questioning or deviating from this very arbitrary legal system is not an option, and the State is really more concerned in maintaining appearances than in applying true and fair justice (I wonder how many people are aware of the fact that we live under such a system today - i.e. Patriot Acts 1 & 2, NDAA, etc., etc.?)

Angelika Waller and the rest of the cast were truly fantastic and the cinematography and editing were first-rate. For a film that was shot behind the Iron Curtain, it was very open and natural (there was even brief nudity). The irony of the story behind the film as Kurt Maetzig tells us himself (in a supplemental interview from 1999), the East-German State had originally backed him in making the film as a way to encourage a more open and democratic attitude from the government. But this had the opposite effect and was banned outright (I'm sure this was also due to the phony, so-called "Cold War" that was in full swing between the U.S. and the U.S.S.R. in 1965)! This is such an important film that I can't stress it enough, well worth it in any cinephile's collection if you can get it. The DVD picture quality is superb, the film has been fully restored. NTSC, German (English subtitles), extras, NR 109 mins.

Liebe und Frieden,
Carlos Romero
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