Once, half a life ago, I stood in front of the Brandenburg Tor on Eastern side of the wall. The year was 1980 and I was visiting East Berlin and the DDR, one my two only trips in ‘friendly socialist’ countries that I was allowed while I lived in Communist Romania. The local guide preached us about being at the border between the ‘new’ socialist world and the capitalist hell that was starting behind the wall. It was maybe 100 meters far away, and a different universe. The same evening, at the hotel, the same guide showed us how to switch the TV set to the West Berlin stations. It was then that I first saw the Rolling Stones in concert, live, they were on tour in West Berlin (‘the hell’). Everybody seemed to know that they were living a lie but the power of the Stasi secret police was too frightening, and most people were afraid to speak up. Now, this interesting TV series brings back some of the aspects of the last decade of the Cold War, in the huge chess board that was divided Germany in the confrontation between the two systems.

 

source http://www.imdb.com/title/tt4445154/

source http://www.imdb.com/title/tt4445154/

 

Deutschland 83 is a spy story, it could have been written by a Le Carre, it just happens to be seen from the perspective of the other side. The eight episodes of the German series build in quite an interesting manner. At first we become familiar with the methods of recruitment of the East-German service, who were enrolling using a combination of idealism (or what was left) among the naive ones in the young generation and blackmail for such supposed crimes like homosexuality or reading forbidden books. It’s quite well written and succeeds to be in tune with some of the true histories that became public in Germany in the years after the fall of the wall. Although the final is quite well known from the history books, the last two episodes succeeded to reach a level of suspense which eventually caught up with me.

 

(video source Series Trailer MP)

 

Using documentary footage and period music helps recreate the atmosphere of the decade. The series benefit from the presence of a few wonderful actors.  is a star in Germany and her rendition of a master spy who does not hesitate to use members of her family to reach her goals, but is not free of hidden and dark secrets of herself is just stunning. Young actor  gibes a very credible performance of the rookie spy who learns the tough ways of the profession in parallel with the culture shock encountered when traveling to the west and his own process of awakening as realities slowly disperse the curtain of lies.

It’s a good and entertaining series doubled with a real documentary value for the generations that were lucky enough not to live through the times of divided Germany and Europe.