In 2005 Ian Hawkins was in Berlin to visit the city. The Karl-Marx-Allee impressed him that much, that he bought a DDR T-Shirt. After that he had heavy pangs of conscience about wearing a T-Shirt with the insignias of the dictatorship GDR. These thoughts caused Ian to his project “The DDR T-Shirt”.
Ian thought after buying the T-Shirt it was such an “ignorant tourist thing” to do in respect of the cruelty of the dictatorship in the GDR. So he set out for learning more about the GDR, about the life in it, about the feelings of the people who lived in it or know a lot about the life there and how these people see the GDR today and how they see these GDR tourist souvenirs.
So he traveled again to Berlin, so speak with people who have their own experiences with the GDR in East or West Berlin. He spoke to historians and a Stasi agent to get to know the GDR better and better. The more he learnt, the more the GDR took shape of a state in which he didn’t want to live and where freedom was an important topic for the people. And so the T-Shirt became a sign that he doesn’t want to wear anymore because it plays the GDR down.
The interviews are interesting, the views are very different and so there arise a complex image of the GDR. Some of the interviews are in German with subtitles; some of them are in English. Every single person has an own view on the GDR and that makes the movie suspenseful.
While the film isn’t really professional, the topic is a really important one and so I can recommend watching it. Besides that there is a good homepage where you can find more information and backgrounds. There you can watch the whole movie and buy it, too. It is interesting to see how the GDR and its symbols still bother the people nearly 25 years after the Fall of the Berlin Wall.