Singing the Blues in Red (1986) - full transcript

Persona Non Grata in his homeland, protest singer Klaus Drittemann must leave East Berlin, his wife and child and emigrate to West Berlin, where the representatives of an American record company are eagerly waiting for him. They plan to exploit his defection from communism both ideologically and financially. But Klaus, as ill-at-ease in the West as he was in the East, is reluctant to be used as an expendable commodity. Leaving his contract unsigned (or signed in his manner), he leaves for Cambridge to meet his father, a concert player, who -just like him - left East Berlin thirty years ago as Klaus was a little boy. He is accompanied by a young French journalist, Emma, who knows where his father has been living since he disappeared for more than a decade. The young lady is cooperative but might hide things from him...

Mr. Drittemann,

we are accustomed to seeing
people in the West, who are

rather happy to be here.

You don't seem to be happy.

What's the problem?
What's the hang up?

I am not unhappy.

I am no happy. I am not unhappy.

I am only here.

Where did you learn your English,
Mr. Drittemann?

Oh! I learnt...

English at the...

at my mother's knee.

She's a teacher.

I understand that
your mother is a...

a very well established senior Party Member

in East Germany.

How does she feel about
you coming here?

It's only private.

It has happened before,

but now... we were
never as broke.

You are jointly

It is true,
it's not true.

It is false,

it's not false.

If it is false, it is not true.

I understand...

I do not understand...

It is clear.

It Si not clear.

It is fast. It is slow.

It is full.

It is not full.

It is fair.

It is not fair.

It is good.

It is not bad.


Just take a picture
for the border effect.

Yeah, yeah, here.

Yes. It's okay.

Thank you.



Partly cloudy skies today in the
Berlin area weather forecast...

the high today 46 Fahrenheit,
8 degrees Celsius...

the mark exchange rate
today, 2 marks, 63 pfennig.

Weather and Currency,
courtesy of AFN Radio

the community banking facility...

and the German National Weather Service.

Do you know that Crest
Silver Wing Air Band contest

has opened new horizons in
the world of entertainment?

There's another contest on
Thursday, October 31st.

That's Haloween, you know.

So plan your costume,
come on out.

You can even call Berlin Military 5597.

Okay. I'll be there.

Hot hits on stereo, 24
hours a day, on 88 FM

the best in Berlin.

Ah! Peep-show.

Yes. I heard something about it.

That's a way?

You speak English?

A little bit.

Great, great, great. Thank
you for calling back.


Yeah. This what we need you for.


A Rock... a Pop... It is called
Rock-Pop-in Concert.

It's the biggest TV show here.

It has a 10 million spectatorship,

and we got to get hear face
and her entire act on the TV.

Yeah. Yeah.

Sure, it's going to be too late.

She's going to be dead over there
before she gets over here.

Okay. Right now.

Okay. Okay.

I'm with you. You know. Instead
of the 25 figure. Okay?


Well, wait a minute...

Okay. Could you push the figure
up from 25,000 upto 30,000...

and then we'll work
down from there.

I'm afraid they're gonna
say 'We'll give you...' you know...

I know it is.

Let's just start at 30,000.

Okay. Fantastic.

Thank you for calling me back.

When do you think you're gonna
get back with me... uh... to me?

Good talking to you. Bye bye.

These are just a couple
of ideas we come up with.

You'd like anything...
that you have to suggest?

There's some of the fan mail that
we got since the Nicaragua song...

was published.

And... uh... did you
get to the contract?

I looked.

Uh... the chief here is anxious
to announce the signing

at the press conference,if
that's at all possible.

Why not?

You have got about $20000 in rights

but I don't think you're have to
worry much about money once the

Taube has you on it's books and
the tour's been agreed to.

And the welcome party...
Do you know Rainer Schiff?

He's agreed to be the host.

No. I've never met him.

He's been quite a success
since he came West.

What happened to Taube?

Hans Taube?

We bought him out. Two years ago.

That was Head Office
in New York on a...

Oh God. I'm sorry. I think
I've made a mistake.

Do you want me to
start all over?

No. No.

I understood.

But it wasn't clear, how
it applied to myself.

Now it is.

Look. Okay. The point is...

everyone her, thinks that you...

are a very important talent

and American World is prepared

to back that judgement
all the way.

And that's how all of this
applies to you. Okay?

Okay. Good. Look.
I'll be right back.

Just a sec.

I left my number by the phone.

I'll be in for the
rest of the evening.

Everyone if free to be proud,
Mr. Drittemann.

I'm not sure anybody has
the right to be stupid.

Did you find out anything
about my father?

No. I'm afraid not. Um...

But we did manage to
locate a French journalist

who might be able to help you.

I've left some of her
work on on the table.

Thank you.

They told me you
might be difficult.


The contract is important.

The rest is pretty
well up to you.


-Thank you.


What about the interrogator?

Can you tell me something
about the interrogator?

He asked me a lot of questions.
I said it already.

How old was he?

Between 30 and 60.

What did he look like? was he tall?
Was he short?

Very often, he looked...

a little angry, I think.

If English is giving you
problems, we can speak German.

No. I don't think so.

English is not a problem.

Well, let's see...

your sister defected to the West
four years ago. Is that right?

That's what I heard.

And was that the last
time you spoke with her?

About a year ago, she rang, to
to complain about men,

over in the West.

She said...

their problem was... they couldn't decide...

whether they were pigs...

or a bunch of tulips.

I think we should meet again,
Mr. Drittemann.

How about next Tuesday?

-Same time.
-Tuesday's fine.

Are you in touch with you father at all?

Why do you ask?

No reason, Mr. Drittemann.

See you in Connecticut in the autumn.
I'm crazy about the idea.

Thank you so much.

You do the best for me...

Harvard has offered him visiting
professorship for the fall.

Oh, really?

Okay. That's it until tonight.

Like any of these?

Uwe says he's waiting
for the first smile.

Have you heard any
news of your father?

My French woman arrives tomorrow.
She will be at Schiff's party.

I think the CIA likes me.

They want to see me again.

I was really surprised...

to find I had already
applied for a visa

Well, like I told you... AmW is
ready to back you all the way.

Why make this difficult?

What time is Braun?




I would like to get some photographs
of you by the Wall some time.

if that's okay with you.

I don't think so.

Yes. But I prefer not to.

Food as well?

No. Thank you.

I was really starving.

Thank you.


What about...

Jacob Drittemann?

I think I found him.

Your father gave his last
public concert in 1971.

He made his last record
the same year, in Israel.

He seems to have a health problem,
heart perhaps, it's vague.

In 1972, he visited America.

New York in February,
Washington in March.

After that, nothing. Gone.

No one knows where.

Can you give me a light please?

Thank you.


There is a man in
Cambridge, England

calling himself James Dryden

to whom Philips
International sent

half yearly royalty
payments, poste restante.

Jacob Drittemann made two
recordings with Philips.

He receives any
payment for that.

There is more, but you
have the bunch of it.

I think James Dryden
is your father.

Tokyo, 1959.

Edinburgh, 1971.

When did you last see him?

in 1953, 20th June. I was six.

I'll stay here tonight,
if that's all right.

There's a couch...

quite comfortable. I'll show you.

There is no address.

It's not quite sure he is
living as James Dryden.

He can just have a bank
account under that name.

But if you want him found,
I have to go there.

And since he is living incognito,
it might help if you came too,

to break the ice.

Where's the bathroom?

Up here. Let me show you.

I will leave a number
where to reach me.

I'll be here till
the press conference.

That way.

What tells you, he's my
father, this Dryden?

My nose. It's my work.
That's what I do.

Shall we go?

How is everything?


Good. Good. How are you.

-I'm fine.
-Good to see you.

How are you doing?

Having a good time?

Not bad, is it?

You met with the French woman?


She rang me up.

She said she won't be coming
to the party tonight.

It's not her...
it's not her scene.

Oh, she called us actually.

It was just after we
announced that, um...

you had got your exit visa.

and she said that she wanted to
do a story on you and your dad.

Hey! You took a lot.

You're a damn fascist!

What can you say
positive about the GDR?

Repeat it please.

What can you say
positive about the GDR?

Is there anything that's worthwhile?

There could be a lot.

But I don't speak about my country.

We were surprised...

but I... you know... I
don't think Braun...

I speak for Braun on this too...

I don't think uh... it's gonna
have any long lasting effects...

There was no harm done. I
think everyone was rather...

You know, the adrenaline got a flowing
with that argument, and uh...

um... we're... we're happy.

I think he handled himself
beautifully and...

Very cleverly.

His whole time over there, he spent
mistrusting the press

and he's got have time here to
learn that the press over here

is an animal.

and that it can't be
offended, if you use it

and we use you and you use us,

and it... it's like one big happy family.

Press can take time.

I think what he did
is to just uh...

emphasize the fact that
he is a fiery...

a passionate artist, and uh...

he... that's what we bought.

That's why we... that's
why we need him.

That's why we want him. He...
he's got this passion

and he's not afraid to use it.

He's got an enormous
amount of courage

and he's gonna use it over here.

Right now, I have to get off the phone.
I'll get back to you okay?

Thank you. Thank you.

Okay. Bye. Bye bye. Yeah bye.

Okay. I think we are ready.

They seem to have liked your
style,but it is a close thing.

Okay. Have Braun see you in
his office in five minutes.

He needs to know about
the contract today. Now.

Yes or no. All right?

Searching for peace and freedom.

Maybe gig in Amsterdam. Stop.

Signed contract on way. Stop.


During the demonstrations,
we can get on board the aircraft,

look at all the
instruments inside,

Plus, all kids do enjoy going
up on the aircraft...

having the pilot's walk around...

All right. This morning it's Captain Willis

talking about the big Open day
coming up, this weekend.

We do have a call on the line now.
Line 1. Your name please?

My name is uh... Mavis Middleton.

Good morning Mavis. It's nice
to have you on the program.

Uh... your question
please, Captain Willis.

Well, the friendly side is very nice,

but what about the real purpose?

Like the cruise missiles
coming to Molesworth?

Mavis, I'm sorry. Obviously,

the question is not
being direct in the way

that we are talking this
morning, about the Open Day.

Mavis Middleton on Line 1 today.

The Americans, much associated
with music of course,

what's your music preference?

Anything like Crystal
Gail or Pat Boone.

Okay. That wasn't
a cue for a song,

but here is Pat Boone and
'Friendly Persuasion'.

Good afternoon Madam. Could you
turn off your engine please?

Where are you going to?

I'm going to Cambridge.

You're going to Cambridge, all right.

Could I have a look at your driving
license please? You got it with you?


Do you have your HA forms?

Thank you.


check on that please.

Very well, sir.

Okay. Do you have your passport?

Yes. I have it.

Thank you.

Well, we want see where you're going.
Where are you going?

We're going to the power
station over there.

What are you going to
the power station for?

-Base ball picketing.
-Base ball picketing.

-Base ball picket.

We're demonstrating.

You're not demonstrating
if you're not going.

-Who says so?
-I say so.

Well, who says we can't demonstrate?
I got no rule.

No. No.

I reserved accommodation,
before I knew you would come.

A room with two beds, I hope.


Can you.. leave the
coffee please?

Oh, sorry.

-Thank you.
-Thank you.

Unh. The water is icy.

I'm afraid I'll catch a cold.

Is he in the phone book?

No. He's not in the book.

And what about the Post Office?

Could you find it?

The landlady told me,
it's not very far.


Tomorrow, we begin.

Yes. Tomorrow, we begin.

Poste Restante for
Cambridge, please.

It will be quicker and cheaper, to take it

It's only a couple of
miles down the road.

How much?

4 pounds 20.

We do two hour watches.

Any longer and we
will be noticed.

I think this is a mistake.


You look like a little boy.

Where were you trained?


Maybe it is all a mistake.

I'm looking for a pen
to leave you a note.

There's a pen.

Oh, that's dead.
Doesn't work anymore.

The package is gone.

Someone came for it.


A woman. I followed
her with the car.

It's just outside town.

Come. I'll take you.

I think there's time.

Sit down please.

Can you show me where it is?


What is here?

It's here.

Can you give me the address?


Millhouse. 70 Station Road.

I sense something wrong. Bad.

I think you should better
get back to Paris.

Your work is done.


You're the boss.

Am I?

What do you mean?

Suddenly, it occurs to me

a man doesn't hide,

if he doesn't fear discovery.

Dryden, Drittemann,

it's all one.

Political folk,

are never safe,

this side of the grave.

So you think I am working
for some... what?

some Intelligence Service?

You knew he needed funding,
before I know it myself.

And you even knew where he is.

You needed me only, to confirm it.

No deal.

Why do you carry a
copy of the brown book?

Are you a fascist?

Foot for foot!

What ten?

Yes. I'll tell you.

In 1942, in Holland,

my mother, who was sixteen,

and thirty members
of her family,

were taken by Nazis and
sent to the death camps.

Here father and mother,
grand parents,

aunts, uncles, cousins,
all died, except her.

She was nineteen when
Ravensbruck was liberated.

She weighed twenty-five kilos.

It was another five years
before she could stand upright,

and face the world again.

And what she found was that
most of those responsible,

the Nazis,

were back in high office again.

Judges, administrators,
businessmen, teachers...

as though nothing had happened.

Indeed nothing had
happened to them.

She decided to so
something about it.

To bring them to justice.

I work for her.

Jacob Drittemann
was communist.

Fought in the Spanish Civil War.

Worked seven years...

for the Academy of
Fine Arts in the GDR.

He fought against Stalinism
every day of his life.

When Stalin lived...

he left in protest at
the brutal repression,

of the workers' uprising
by the military

and lives on to this day

in the hearts of the
socialist opposition there.

What can any of this have
to do with my father?

I'll show you.

There's two years work here.

Between Spain and America

your father spent some
months in Holland,

fighting with the Dutch

Did you know?


The town of Gouda.

I found it in an archive.

About a dozen German
comrades took that route.

One of them led a whole detachment
group of resistance workers.

28 men and 12 women,

to their deaths
in a Nazi ambush.

Your father may have
known the traitor.

I have to ask him

So, do you like your home?

All right.

But I see him alone.

Of course.

Poor bastard.

I don't him to be my father.

Are you ill?




You are discovering the West has
no use for innocence either.

My name is James Dryden.

What do you want with me?

-You speak English?
-I do.

Sit. Won't you?

I prefer English.

The cheese was clever.

I have been expecting
you, I suppose,

most of my life.

They say in these parts,

the man born to be hanged

need not fear drowning.

That's how it has been for me.

I count my life in days now.

I listen each morning
for my last blackbird.

Not living, is no longer a problem.

But I will die here, nowhere else.

It is the only
choice left to me.

So, Si Rosa dead?

Or did she finally
decide to confess all,

and go in her grave,

with a clean Party card?

It doesn't matter.

In a way, she had no choice.

Handing me over

would have meant, putting
herself under suspicion.

To save herself and the children,

she had to save me too.

It was always something
I had counted on.

I met her in Spain.

You know... Rosa, red, red Rosa.

In the full, obscene
bloom of her innocence.

waiting for slaughter, like Stalin's daughter.

I quote myself in opera.

I was a child, a child too.
Nineteen, twenty...

seeking the ancient battle ground between

between right and wrong...

but I glimpsed what she would never see,

The hand of the puppet master,

controlling the dance.

Why should this interest you...

a hard functionary,

a thing of the state,

in your ridiculous coat.

May I go on in my house?

Come with me.


This is England.

Things must be done properly.

This is what I do now.
I don't know why.

I've seen these faces all my life,

in Hitler's Germany,

in Stalin's Spain,

in Roosevelt's America,

in d'Ulbricht's
Democratic Republic.

And now here.

It's the face of innocence.

There is only power.

Those, who have it, know it.

Those who don't, must learn it.

'The ones who are
ruled carry others.

The once who rule are
carried by others.'

Meng-Tse, 600 BC

It is the first law of humankind.

The innocents think
there is a choice,

and stop at nothing to prove it.

Do you choose to be here now?

You server the masters.

Did I choose to
return to my country

after the war, the agent
of American Intelligence?

We've both learnt the second law.

Any life is better than no life.

Later still, we learn
the third law.

It's all one,

life is nothing.

Will you kill me?


Somebody will.

I expected Americans.

You know, they've always

had problems

acknowledging their death
to the Third Reich.

They wanted me disposed off

years back.

But I found out,

slipped the noose.

Here, I imagine,

they've been content

to let me lie low,

and die with their secrets.

But you are a Stasi,
without question.

Forty years...

it's still the same SS
hand me down for uniform.

Am I still an opposition
hero back there?

You have to live in England, to learn

the true nature of irony.

But you know the second law...

so you are no fool.

Who sent you to Holland?


After Spain, before America

with the Dutch resistance.

Forty comrades were led to their
death in the town of Gouda.



The Gestapo.

Forty, was it?

In Spain, they killed thousands.

But fascists, they killed
fascists in Spain.

Comrades, comrade.

Brothers in arms.

Anarchists, syndicalists,

paisans, workers.

Stalin's orders.

Liquidate the enemy within.

Secure the leading role of the Party.

The dream died

in Spain.

At the fall of Madrid,

I was handed to the Gestapo,
and the choice was clear

work for the Third Reich

or see my family in
Leipzig destroyed.

I worked for the Gestapo.

When Holland fell,

the Reich sold me to America.

It is true, it's not true.

It is false, it is not false.

Did your wife know?

Rosa went to Russia

to practice her innocence,

suck on filth,

Rosa found her own way to be guilty.

Are my children alive?

And well?

Rosa fought at Stalingrad.

There is a difference.

Your children are well.

Who are you?

Why are you here?

We pay the price.

Last law.


You knew.



Did you know everything?

I knew the bones.

I knew your father did a deal
with the Nazis in Madrid.

I knew he did their
work in Holland.

I knew the Americans
lifted him in '45,

even he was a Nazi collaborator,

and sent back to Berlin
a year later.

I knew that he was their
thing ever since.

Do you know why he did a deal
with the Nazis in Madrid?


Did you care? Do you care?

I don't know.

I know it doesn't
make a difference.

I had imagined,

that we were friends
or comrades, somehow.

What will you do with him?

Speak with him.

To find what I can.

And that's all?


I'll try and bring him to justice.

He's a mad old man, rotted away.

We have to begin somewhere.

What about you?




I'll drive you out
there, tomorrow.

All right.

You have no reason to trust me.

Don't I?

Even though I mean you well.

There is a telephone for
Mr. Dittyman,

Could it possibly be you?

Thank you.

You register as Mr. Dupayne and now
it seems you are Mr. Dittyman.

It's just not good enough.

Oh! You never mind madam.

Hello. Drittemann.

Hi. Its's Lucy. Do you have a minute?
We have to talk.

Uh. Lucy.

Go ahead.

Okay. The Munich organizers have come
back with a bigger and a better offer.

Another $3000.

Are you interested?

What's in Munich?

The pop festival.

The thing is, it clashes
with the Amsterdam date,

which I will remind you, it's travel
and accommodation. No fee, nothing.

No. I prefer Amsterdam.
Fix it with them.

How did you know
where to find me?

Oh God. Look. Is it more
paranoia, or a serious question?

I rang the French
girl and got the number.

Do you want me to
come to Amsterdam?

Bye Lucy.

Bad news?

I wrote to the record company
about a concert in Amsterdam.

So? What's the problem?

They knew I was here.

And you think I told them?

I don't know.

You made a phone call the
day we arrived here.

I called my mother.

She has to know where I am.

And she's been after this man
for almost fifteen years.

Nobody else.

Did you ask them how
they found out?

You should have
spoken to them today.


They know. We found him now.

Tomorrow might be too late.

The body of a Cambridge
man was found hanging

from beam this morning by
his 14 year old daughter.

The girl, Anne Dryden found
her father James Dryden,

a retired artist, in the
kitchen of their family home,

on the outskirts of the city.

According to Mrs. Elizabeth
Dryden, his wife,

The dead man had been suffering
from depression for some time.

Foul play is not suspected.

Local weather in a moment.
Stay with...

He told me...

He told me he was going
to be disposed off.



Okay. I leave you here.

You going with this?

Yes, I think so.
Somebody should do it.

If you go to Paris,
come and see my mother.

What's she like?

What do you mean?

She's like you?

Me? Not at all. She is very serious.

-Good bye.