Synopsis by Eleanor Mannikka
An East German director Juergen Klauss has focused on the Berlin wall or the larger border between East and West Germany in this and one previous film Regina Ziegler/Zweites (One-Way Ticket) also released in 1981. In this incisive and comic look at the artificial dividing line through Germany, Klauss has two surveying teams from each side of the fence joining efforts to complete their respective governments' requests to establish the validity of the present boundary line and report any deviations when through. In order to carry out these orders, the East German team crosses through the gate each day to work on the western side of the fence with their West German counterparts. That is because the actual, mined area of the fence is well within East Germany, making the real boundary technically on the West German side. As the two teams set to work, they pair off and the ensuing camaraderie and comic situations that develop make the very purpose of the fence seem all the more absurd. The East Germans are not allowed to drink on the job and so when the West Germans pull out their beers at lunch, some under-the-table trading goes on when the bosses are not looking. When the East German half of one pair gets side-tracked at a department store during lunch, the rest of the team has to cover for both of them until they return together. As the teams continue to work together, their friendship grows, solidifying in spite of an East German "observer" who comes to watch the goings-on, putting everyone back on good behavior for awhile.