Featured Literature of the Week: Danielle

As mentioned at the time of its relaunch as a website, the Files will present featured literature to be posted on a weekly basis to provide readers (and in this case, viewers) with an opportunity to look at the genres written or produced in the English language with a focus on life in Germany.

Our first profile looks at feminism and sexual liberation in the form of poetry and film. Danielle was written by Robert Grant and produced by B-Street Productions based in the Berlin suburb of Neukölln. It had made its debut in 2005 but was dedicated in honor of its 10th anniversary a few weeks back. It focuses on a girl living in an apartment in Berlin, who had just broken off a relationship with another man, despite the fact that they had a close relationship, on the brink of something hot and intense. The film presents two very contrasting sides of the story. On the one hand, there is a girl in her mid to late twenties, who had just returned from a late night rendezvous, feeling liberated after having produced a closure with her ex-boyfriend. The video shows even more as she strips down from her tight clothes and dress and slips on loose clothing, as if she had been given new breath of life and a sense of freedom she had never gotten before.

On the other hand, there is the narrator who cites the poem and is heartbroken. He looks back at the affair with the girlfriend, describing all the joys and pain of making love, only to see it disappear with the girl walking out the door, but not before leaving a scar that he has to wear, even when he now loves another woman. The man is lost and confused, not knowing what had happened and why it ended after enduring the love he encountered with the girl in the apartment, let alone the friendship he had that was just as memorable. And even when he falls in love again, he will always remember the rendezvous, asking himself what and how the love would have been like had he not broken off the relationship.

The poem and the video looks at the sexual liberation and the ability to love freely between the man and the woman. What is not surprising is the setting of the piece, which was in Berlin- or any city in the eastern half- to be exact, for after the Revolution of 1989, there was the revolution of the sexual liberties, as many young people of that time, tired of the repressive East German communist regime, engaged in free loving in ways that would make an average American household living in the Bible belt, let alone many parts of Bavaria, to close their blinds and switch off all forms of media and bury themselves in the Book of Genesis.

According to sources on the Fall of Wall and life in East Germany (or GDR), the Politburo tried controlling the population and their way of life, even in the case of romance. Many partners were ripped apart, others were suppressed in order to please the Communist party the SED. Those who tried fleeing were arrested and imprisoned. When the Wall fell, so did the machine that tried to control the way the population lived their lives, and even made love. Many people wanting that freedom to choose who they want to love got that wish. And while this free loving mentality is still being looked down upon in some parts of the western half of Germany, the ability to experiment with romance, mixing it with a sense of hedonism, as seen in the poem with the girl being free from a broken-hearted man, is still predominantly strong in many parts of the eastern half of Germany, let alone in some of the big cities, like Berlin, Cologne and Leipzig, just to name a few.

This video and poem that you are about to watch represents a classic example of this liberation and freedom that both partners received in the end. I hope you enjoy this clip as the first of many literary features to come on the Files.  Viel Spass beim Anschauen! 🙂


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