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Carbide and Sorrel (Karbid und Sauerampfer)

Carbide and Sorrel

In summer 1945, Karl Bluecher, a worker known as Kalle, sets out from Dresden for Wittenberge to try and procure carbide, which is desperately needed to restart production in a destroyed factory. It is not by chance that Kalle is the one to go: on the one hand, his brother-in-law works at the carbide plant in Wittenberge; on the other, Kalle is a vegetarian and so would definitely manage to get there without any food problems. He does get through to Wittenberge and could return to Dresden with seven drums of carbide, if only he had the required means of transport ... His return journey is quite an adventure. Kalle gets to know Karla, a young peasant woman, and they fall in love, yet he does not stay with her because his colleagues in Dresden are urgently waiting for the carbide. At one stage, Kalle is arrested by Soviet officers for alleged profiteering, and then released again. He foils US officers and manages to cover quite a stretch home in a military motorboat. He escapes a man-crazy widow, a mined forest, a shipwreck and many other calamities. Meanwhile, he takes up all sorts of odd jobs. Eventually, he goes back to Dresden with only two drums of carbide. Still, that will do for a new beginning. However, there is no keeping Kalle at work with his colleagues: he heads back to Karla.


Frank Beyer was born in 1932 in Nobitz. From 1952-1957, he studied at the FAMU film school in Prague. From 1958-1966, he was a director at the DEFA Studio in Babelsberg, but was forced to leave following his film The Trace of Stones (Spur der Steine, 1966), which was considered a critical affront by the government of the German Democratic Republic, and was forbidden to work in Berlin and Potsdam. He was director at the State Theater in Dresden from 1967-1969 and began making TV films for East German Television in 1970. He started making features for DEFA again in 1974. After the banning of his film Geschlossene Gesellschaft, he was permitted to make films in West Germany. His films include: Five Cartridges (Fuenf Patronenhuelsen, 1960), Invincible Love (Koenigskinder, 1962), Naked Among Wolves (Nackt unter Woelfen, 1963), Carbide and Sorrel (Karbid und Sauerampfer, 1964), Traces of Stone (Spur der Steine, 1966), Jacob the Liar (Jakob der Luegner, 1974), The Hiding Place (Das Versteck, 1978), The Turning Point (Der Aufenthalt, 1983), Bockshorn (1984), Der Bruch (1989), and Nikolaikirche (TV, 1995), among others.
Genre Comedy
Category Feature
Year of Production 1963
Director Frank Beyer
Screenplay Hans Oliva
Cinematography Guenter Marczinkowsky
Hildegard Conrad
Joachim Werzlau
Cast Erwin Geschonneck, Marita Boehme, Manja Behrens
Production Company DEFA/Berlin
Length 84 min
Format 35 mm, b&w
Original Version
 Gemran
Sound Technology Mono
German Distributor PROGRESS Film-Verleih/Berlin

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