A captivating documentary about a forgotten restaurant 50 kilometers outside of Berlin.
MICHENDORF is the story of the last of the motorway restaurants before arriving in Berlin. It was a place where people from East and West Germany met and where East German spies, the Stasi, had one of their headquarters as well. After the wall came down in 1989 and Germany was once again a united country, a lot of things changed. Many people lost their jobs and several old statues, buildings and other landmarks from the so called DDR (Deutsche Demokratische Republik) were removed or are now in the process of being removed. MICHENDORF is a reminder of these times. Found within this relic from a different era are the people who have worked there since the days of a divided country.
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This charming German television documentary took me back to my visit to the rest stop "delicatessan" on the border of Burgenland, Austria and Hungary just outside(?) Sopron before the Iron Curtain separating Eastern and Western Europe fell. The director of this film captured the feel of the soon-to-be-possibly-redundant working class as the East opens up to international trade, travelers and money. Surprising (or not?) that Frau Muller still lives in fear of the Stasi, the former East Germany's secret police.
Very well done. It captures the unique experience of the workers, their unusual status "in between" the two German states, and it provides just enough context to make clear to those not versed in the history of divided Germany, that there were both pleasures and problems with that status.