As Long As You Still Have Arms (2019)

  • Documentary
  • 1h 33m

Frank Karbstein, a peace activist and puppeteer, became a political prisoner in the German Democratic Republic in 1983 after distributing “subversive” pamphlets to mailboxes across the city of Gera. After the fall of the Berlin Wall in 1989, it became possible to reconstruct the course of events that led to Karbstein’s arrest and imprisonment by the notorious state security service, the Stasi. Using almost life-size puppets and a series of interviews, the filmmakers and Karbstein have created a deeply moving and aesthetically daring film that tells a story of idealism, love, and betrayal in the context of a major transitional phase in world history. While recounting geographically specific events, the film is a thoughtful evocation of how idealism and peace activism under any autocratic regime can have devastating consequences on an individual level. Nevertheless, it leaves us with an inspirational message: that future generations should not be afraid to know the facts. AM