United States / Germany 2016, 89 min, English and German, Hebrew & English subtitles

She thought she had a happy childhood. She didn’t realize she was born into the world’s biggest prison. Petra Epperlein grew up in Karl-Marx-Stadt, a mid-sized city in East Germany, whose citizenry was under constant surveillance. Even after relocating to America, she was still nostalgic for the days when “the horizon was limited, but safe”. A family tragedy forces Epperlein to return home, and confront reality from a new perspective. Her investigation of a very personal mystery raises disturbing questions about life in the city before and after Germany’s reunification. Who were the Stasi’s countless informers? What did everyday life look like under a repressive regime, where everyone is the enemy? And what remains of it today? Her personal quest nonetheless captures the horror and disillusionment of a whole generation.

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  • Fri 12.05 19:15 Cinemateque 1 Filmmaker Present
  • Sat 13.05 19:30 Cinemateque 4 Filmmaker Present
  • Thu 18.05 10:30 Cinemateque 1
Director, Production, Script & Editing: Petra Epperlein, Michael Tucker
Production Company: Pepper&bones
Cinematography: Michael Tucker
World Sales: Jason Ishikawa (jason@cineticmedia.com)


Filmmakers Petra Epperlein and Michael Tucker, aka Pepper & Bones, are a husband-and-wife team who work between Berlin and New York. Epperlein was born in Karl Marx Stadt, GDR and began her professional life as an architect. Tucker was born in Honolulu, Hawaii and fell into camerawork after an accident on a factory trawler led him to pick up his first camera. They met in New York in 1994 and immediately began work on the THE LAST COWBOY—one of the earliest examples of digital film. Later travels took them to the African bush, the Australian outback, Cuba, and the Balkans until they stumbled upon their first documentary in the Iraq War. That film, GUNNER PALACE, premiered at Telluride and TIFF in 2004 and led them directly to their second feature, THE PRISONER OR: HOW I PLANNED TO KILL TONY BLAIR, which told the story of an Iraqi journalist seen arrested in GUNNER PALACE and later sent to Abu Ghraib. The film premiered at TIFF in 2006 and was later nominated for
an Independent Spirit Award. In 2007, they captured the life of a German armored car salesman in BULLETPROOF SALESMAN against the backdrop of spiraling violence (and demand) in Iraq and Afghanistan. Returning to America in 2008, they followed the soldiers of GUNNER PALACE home in HOW TO FOLD A FLAG, which premiered at TIFF in 2009. One of the characters in that film led them to the world of MMA fighting in FIGHTVILLE. In 2013, their film THE FLAG, for CNN Films, looked at the symbols and icons of 9/11 America.