It is the post-war years, and Siggi finds himself in a juvenile detention centre in northern Germany. He is assigned to write an essay titled The Joy of Duty, but instead, the young man remembers how his father turned in to the Nazis his friend, the expressionist painter Max. Siggi was supposed to help his father in this, but the so-called degenerate art fascinated him. The experiences of the past resurface and become the most vivid painting that Siggi has ever seen.
The literary quartet of Günter Grass, Heinrich Böll, Martin Walser and Siegfried Lenz formed the core structure of German post-war literature. Lenz’s novel (1968) is considered to be one of the most effectual works revealing the disparateness of World War II and German history. In 1971 the novel was brought to life on television, but it took almost 50 years for it to appear on cinema screens under the painterly hand of director Christian Schwochow.
Foreword by the programme curator: The feeling of rereading a classic book from which you can't tear yourself away. Then memory and history take over.