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Deutschland 83: Season One [Region 1]
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Deutschland 83 is a groundbreaking new series from the producers of the international Emmy award-winning Generation War. It's 1983. The Cold War is hot. Russian SS20 Missiles in East Germany are already pointed West. American Pershing II Missiles will soon be placed in West Germany, pointing East. The threat of nuclear conflict looms.
Our hero, Martin Rauch (Jonas Nay), is 23. Born and raised in East Germany, he is sent undercover, as Moritz Stamm, to West Germany, to work for a top General in the Bundeswehr. Officially, his job is to gather intelligence on the placement of the Pershing II Missiles. A secondary gig develops, infiltrating youth culture through close relationships with the General's two children. But nothing and no one are as they seem.
Deutschland 83 is a coming-of-age story within a suspenseful thriller, set against the real events, culture wars and political realities of Germany in the 1980s.
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A gripping series, not only with a fascinating insight on how attitudes were then but sombre reflections on how they are now. (The creators, whilst writing Episode 6 about a shot down passenger plane, were shocked by news reports of an almost exact counterpart - the same country blamed on both occasions.)
Head of a fine cast, Jonas Nay is excellent as Martin/Moritz - convincingly forever thinking on his feet, the danger so often very real indeed. Deaths will result, some of them regretted.
Evocatively depicted is a Germany literally divided in two. (Jonas was born in 1990, a year after the wall came down and finds details of how Germany was before then hard very to believe.) Both West and East are vividly portrayed - the "haves" and the "have nots", paranoid suspicion of the other side's motives the only real thing in common. Tension is real, not helped when Intelligence Reports are doctored in order to justify military action.
Although a thriller, there is much humour (as when East German experts try to make sense of the West's floppy discs).
Perhaps most of all, the series is life-affirming. Here are no villains, but people seriously misguided. Gifted by hindsight, viewers know the depicted growing peace movements in both East and West are destined to create more positive attitudes. Unification so close? Who would have thought!
Eight episodes. Over an hour of interesting bonus features (Jonas charismatically articulate in both German and English).
Much here to think about. Most chilling of all? As Nuclear War seemed imminent, someone reflects that what God created in six days is about to be destroyed in one.