Schade, Dass Beton Nicht Brennt (1981)

Genres - Culture & Society  |   Sub-Genres - Social Issues  |   Run Time - 81 min.  |   Countries - West Germany  |  
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In the late 1970s, real estate speculators and developers bought up old apartment buildings in the Kreusberg (including Chamissoplatz) and Wedding districts of West Berlin, and boarded them up as they waited - and waited - to begin renovation. Young students occupied the emptied buildings in protest, and many elderly residents refused to leave the buildings slated for closure. Given the critical and prolonged housing shortage in West Berlin, the actions of the speculators were particularly arrogant and insensitive. After months of protests and publicity on television news shows - including scenes of police brutality - the city began to reconsider its stance on the issue. This 81-minute documentary records action sequences at the sites of building occupation and protests, and mixes those sequences with interviews of the elderly residents, the student squatters, the police, and imprisoned protestors to give a balanced, fair, and multisided account of the history and the forces behind the crisis.