Karl Marx City | Chicago Reader

Karl Marx City

Michael Tucker and Petra Epperlein—whose debut feature, Gunner Palace (2004), is one of the essential documentaries about the Iraq war—tackle a more personal subject with this 2016 political memoir, in which Epperlein returns to her hometown in the former East Germany to investigate her father's 1999 suicide. The father was rumored to be a Stasi informer, and the filmmakers draw heavily on state surveillance tapes, broadcast intercepts, and propaganda films to conjure the repressive society that shaped him. Family members weigh in with memories of the deceased, and experts explain the emotional and psychological cost of being spied on endlessly. In voice-over narration, Epperlein refers to herself in the second person; this distancing device seems appropriate for a story of someone growing up in public but not of her own choice.

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