Film: 5770

Religion | 1960 | Sound | B/W

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Synopsis:

Very cold war and strained relationship between the west and the Soviet Union especially on freedom of religious belief and supression of christianity in Russia 1960's

"This is forbidden!"

These words, from a police inspector, end a children's party welcoming Pastor Friedrich Gottfried to his new assignment at Osterstadt, an East German parish which has seen its previous pastor imprisoned by the political authorities.

Gottfried and his wife, Maria, are soon made aware of the troubles of their parishioners, their helplessness under the pressures of the Communist police, and their concern at the wooing away of their children by the Party.

The Gottfried's son, Peter, who is 15 and dreams of becoming a music teacher, brings home the news that advanced learning is available only to the politically correct. A document of seven questions has been given to all students in the schools of East Germany. On its answers depends each child's whole future, for it measures his Socialist development.

To answer the questions truthfully, the way Peter has learned the truth from his father, will doom him to life in a labour battalion. To answer by parroting the "truth" of the Party press may well assure him his dream: a scholarship in a music conservatory.

The school teacher, Rolf Starke, encourages Peter toward a "right" decision, telling him that society needs his talent, that his future is his own to shape, that none will shut him out.

A girl - Peter's girl - Anneliese Zingler, urges him to keep faith with himself and reminds him that he will break his father's heart if he lies in answering the questionnaire.

Peter's father urges him to hold fast to honour and truth, asking "What kind of man do you really want to be?" Yet, as a parent, he loves his son and wants to spare him hurt and disappointment.

The church offers Peter faith and spiritual strength.

The Party offers acclaim, applause, the chance to play his piano in public, comradeship and - most exciting of all - a trip to the annual Berlin Youth Festival where he will represent Osterstadt in a national music contest.

The boy goes, telling his worried parents and Anneliese, "I'm not going over to their side; I'm just going to play the piano."

In Berlin, he learns how wrong he is. Amidst the crowds and marching thousands, he is not obscure. The Party already is proclaiming him to the world as a refutation of charges that religious youth is denied opportunity under Communism. Hearing this and determined no longer to be a Party pawn, he flees from the contest to become a refugee in the West.

Back in Osterstadt, Pastor Gottfried is told of his son's flight by Police Inspector Herrmann, the same officer who first welcomed him to the parish. He is placed under house arrest.

The Pastor goes to his son's room and discovers that the hated questionnaire has indeed been answered; that Peter had made his choice, before going to Berlin, by scrawling two words after the only part that really matters - Question Seven.

An in the boy's answer, the Pastor finds the courage he, too, needs - to be the kind of man he wants to be.


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