Spuriously named after the Kreuzberg basin, Engelbecken is a soul-searching documentary on the cross-border romance between West Berliner Gamma Bak and GDR citizen Steffen Reck. And while it playfully takes its chapter titles from its name (such as Enge or Ecken) and offers rare archive footage plus intriguing insights into the angry paranoia of life on the brink, the film drowns in self-centred navel-gazing with its Stasi files and am-dram home videos, unable to turn this very personal story of division into something more universal.
Engelbecken | Directed by Gamma Bak, Steffen Reck (Germany 2014) documentary. Starts September 3
Originally published in issue #141, September 2015.