Synopsis by Eleanor Mannikka
This film concerns Ernst Barlach, and the tragedy of an artist indirectly destroyed by the growing Nazi hold on Germany. Barlach was a somewhat expressionistic graphic artist and sculptor, as well as a dramaturge, who died in a hospital in Guestrow, Germany, in 1938. This excellent drama, banned for years in Germany, is about one important, imaginary day in his life. Barlach leaves his studio in the morning and goes to the church to look at the angel he sculpted there. The angel's face resembles that of Kaethe Kollwitz, another artist condemned by the Nazis. After some time at the church, Barlach goes out to the countryside and watches brown-shirts in military maneuvers. This world is alien to him, and worse yet, repugnant. That night, the church's angel is stolen by the Nazis and never surfaces again. This much of the story is true, as well as Barlach's imminent death. The rest is a masterful re-creation of the hostile environment the artist had to endure in the last years of his life.