Berlin, mid-1980s: A wall has divided the city for over 20 years. In the East it is guarded by armed forces. Only those who have reached retirement age are allowed to cross the border from East to West; exceptions are only granted arbitrarily. Attempts to cross the border on their own are met with gunfire; survivors end up behind bars. In the eastern part of Germany, the deadly border is officially called the "anti-fascist protective wall". In reality, the GDR has been sealing itself off since 1961 to stop the mass exodus of labour.
When the director Helga Reidemeister, who lives in West Berlin, starts her East-West documentary DREHORT BERLIN, no one suspects that a Peaceful Revolution in 1989 will bring down the Wall. Powerfully photographed, DREHORT BERLIN offers gripping historical visual lessons about the city of Berlin and its division from the perspective of a director who was born in 1940 in the middle of the Second World War and belongs to the West Berlin 1968 generation.
The choice of her protagonists describes the status quo of the time, which leaves little room for hope of fundamental change. While the protagonists in the western part can speak freely and express partly fundemental criticism of West German conditions, the interviewees in the eastern part have to assume that their statements will be closely registered by state authorities. Anyone who expresses criticism beyond what is tolerated must expect reprisals.
Reidemeister leaves it to the pithy voices of the official West Berlin partition commemoration to point out the dictatorial character of the GDR. Representatives of the opposition that had grown up in the GDR do not get a chance to speak, although many voices critical of the GDR gathered in both East and West Berlin.