Traces of Stones (Spur der Steine) (1966)
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Critic Reviews for Traces of Stones (Spur der Steine)
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Audience Reviews for Traces of Stones (Spur der Steine)
Of all the things that rile Party Secretary Werner Horrath(Eberhard Esche) about Hannes Balla(Manfred Krug) and his crew, the drunken skinnydipping and complete lack of discipline finish far ahead of the cowboy costumes and the appropriating of gravel from another project to finish their job. So, Horrath seeks to teach them all a lesson by withholding their anniversary bonuses. Which almost causes a riot until Kati Klee(Krystyna Stypulkowska), an engineer who has already proved her mettle at the building site, seeks to play peacemaker which works as she gets Balla out of the building successfully and peacefully. And then he ruins it by making a drunken pass at her. Usually when East Germany is portrayed in movies these days, it is as a police state which is definitely not inaccurate. "Traces of Stones" takes it from another angle, as it was made there and banned for the duration, showing it to be much more of a bureaucratic nightmare where not much of anything ever gets accomplished. This is also a classless society that is ironically stratified which also allows Balla a strange kind of freedom; that since he does not belong to the Party, he has no hopes of promotion and no need to behave himself. That does not stop him from being called an anarchist on many an occasion, however.(Or maybe it's just the earring.) And then there is Horrath who proves the universal truism of those who preach purity are usually the least pure but at least he does not lie to Kati about his marital status. So, while the characters are of the three dimensional variety, this otherwise worthwile movie veers too often towards soap opera via its cliched love triangle. Better editing would have helped, especially with the flashbacks, as the movie is also a little too long.
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