Hot Summer

Director: Joachim Hasler

Country: East Germany

Year: 1968

Duration: 91 min

Languages: German, subtitled in English

Original name: Heißer Sommer

Category: , ,

Eleven high school girls from Leipzig and ten high school boys from Karl-Marx-Stadt hitchhike towards the Baltic Sea beaches of Rügen and Usedom. It happens exactly what everybody would expect to happen, which critics back then as well as today hold against Hot Summer in the utterly misguided belief that audiences always want to see something new, if possible, even original. But that meant and means misunderstanding this film. Hasler wanted to create something that feels very ordinary and expectable while shining lively – the way its core audience, the first generation of youngsters for whom the GDR was home, probably felt about their Heimat. That is to say: Hot Summer is more about belonging than longing in a time of growing cultural inwardness.

With DEFA dream duo and real life couple Chris Doerk and Frank Schöbel in the lead, Hot Summer is the rare example of a genuine star vehicle, whose main purpose is to showcase their specific talents – and help sell a few records on the way; in addition to them, Gerti Möller and Ingo Graf, both singing stars in their own right, can be heard in the film as the singing voices of, respectively, Regine Albrecht and Hanns-Michael Schmidt.

Olaf Möller