He is the biggest star of the GDR: Manfred Krug. Until he falls out of favour with the party and is declared an enemy of the state. He goes to the West and starts again – with unexpected success.
The documentary describes Manfred Krug’s path from steel smelter to film star and from East German idol to television darling of the entire nation. With interviews from friends and companions – including Armin Mueller-Stahl, Joseph Vilsmaier, Charles Brauer and Uschi Brüning – “ZDF-History” remembers the popular actor and singer, whose death anniversary is in October 2017.
“Manne” plays everything in his own way. That’s why the GDR audience loves him like no other: for his humour, for his straightforwardness and for his big mouth. His star role is the rebellious carpenter Hannes Balla in Frank Beyer’s “Spur der Steine”. But the film is too critical for the SED and is banned only three days after its premiere in 1966. Krug’s great love, however, is music. “For me, he was the only singer in the GDR who could be taken seriously,” says jazz legend Uschi Brüning.
When Krug stood up for the GDR singer-songwriter Wolf Biermann, he felt the harshness of the regime: tours were cancelled, films were no longer shown, concerts were sabotaged by Stasi people. At the same time, character assassination campaigns began to undermine his reputation with the public. Krug is terrified.
The most popular actor in the GDR applies to leave the country, but the GDR won’t let Krug go. When he is finally allowed to move with his family in June 1977, it is the end of a months-long war of nerves, but on the other hand it is also the start of an uncertain second life.