Duo Valentianos (1984)

Run Time - 90 min.  |   Countries - West Germany  |  
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In a pseudo-documentary format, director Gertrud Pinkus tells three separate, but interconnected tales with striking images and a moving sense of time and place. In one sequence, an older woman and her son are shown playing music on the streets of 1930s' Germany in order to eke out a living. Cut to another scene from the same era, and there is a musician and juggler (Gilles Lothe) who is working undetected for the Underground Resistance. Lothe then appears again as a more modern researcher looking into the fate of the elderly woman and her son (the two Valentianos), who disappeared unnoticed by history. In reality, there actually was a similar duo who entertained at variety shows during this period, and whose fate was also unclear. Some of the forbidding aspects of post-war Germany are brought into focus when the researcher goes through Checkpoint Charlie to garner information about the woman and her son from a source in East Germany. As the separate pieces begin to come together, Pinkus uses poignant, symbolic images to convey what must have happened to the mother-son pair, and to many others like them.