Section: Close Up WWII

Freies Land


Milo Harbich
Germany, 1946, 79 Min

Experiences of German refugees, farmers and those newly settled after the end of the Second World War and at the beginning of the land reform in 1946. Shot in Westprignitz and in the disaster zone around Lebus. In this mixture of reportage and staged scenes, many of those affected play themselves. This is the long-forgotten second feature-length DEFA film, following on from THE MURDERERS ARE AMONG US.

In a broadcast report from June 1946 the “Berliner Zeitung” reported: “Everyone is taking part: residents, houses, fields, cattle.” They were referring to DEFA's second feature-length film, FREE COUNTRY. Director Milo Harbich attempted to combine reportage and feature plot, similar to the work of the Italian neorealists. What happened in the country after the end of the war? Hordes of refugees criss-cross the villages, a young woman has to bury one of her children on the roadside, her husband went to war and is considered missing. Yet the film is not satisfied with images of suffering; its aim was to convey hope. The land belonging to great landowners is distributed, the small farmers receive help from newly created engine stations, and the soldier also returns. Peace and land reform as the source of a better life. - Despite its strong didactic nature FREE COUNTRY remains today a unique contemporary document from the post-war years. RS

Milo Harbich
Otto Baecker
Adolf Jansen
Martin Gericke
Heinrich Beisenherz
Werner Eisbrenner
Ursula Voß, Fritz Wagner, Herbert Wilk, Hans Sternberg, Aribert Grimmer, Peter Marx, Oskar Höcker, Elfriede Dugall, Kurt Mikulski
Kurt Hahne
Deutsche Film AG (DEFA)

Milo Harbich -

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