The “Film about the Father” is a difficult genre. Andreas Goldstein, son of the GDR cultural functionary Klaus Gysi (1912–1999) has tackled this task with a complete lack of vanity, but with insistence: measured and calm, honest and intellectual, analytical and personal. He uncovers a mosaic that renounces both the teleologies of the self-styled winners of history and the simplifications of (West) German Oscar nominees. This film is not about the lives of others, but about his own life. Not about yesterday, about today, too.
The focus is on the father and his lifelong ambition to found a social order in which “spirit and power are in complete agreement”. It’s on the primal scene of the Jewish intellectual (the sight of a dead worker), the career of an SED Party communist (head of a publishing house, cultural minister, ambassador, state secretary for church matters), insights into a driven private life. Part of this “communist genealogy” himself, Goldstein comments own photos, found television material and images from Berlin (then, today) from offscreen, setting a high standard for a re-evaluation of the state that will always be his origin: “We would reject questions about the legitimacy of our present existence. How come we ask them about the past all the time?”