Angels of Iron (Engel aus Eisen)
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Angels of Iron

Engel aus Eisen
by Thomas Brasch
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Berlin in the summer of 1948. During the Soviet blockade of the city’s western sectors, inter-sectoral law enforcement is spotty at best. A youth gang led by 17-year-old Werner Gladow takes advantage of the situation. Guided by former state executioner Gustav Völpel, who has connections on the police force, Gladow organises armed robberies and styles himself the Al Capone of Berlin – to the great admiration of his mother and his girlfriend Lisa. But then the young gangster commits murder and, when the Blockade ends, so does his summer of anarchy… This was the directorial debut of writer Thomas Brasch, who had left East Germany and gone to the West. The high-contrast black-and-white film noir is rife with echoes of the expressionism of Germany’s Weimar-era cinema. Underlaid by the continuous drone of American supply planes, newsreel commentary and a speech by West Berlin mayor Ernst Reuter, Angels of Iron depicts a split city on the frontline of the Cold War, with the young, fun-loving post-war generation standing in for the rebellious punks of the 1980s. In 1982, Thomas Brasch said, “crime is the elemental expression of revolt”.

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