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Ghost Fathers

Director: Doris Metz

Germany| 2005. Subtitled. Colour. Dolby Digital Stereo. 93 min.


Once upon a time, there were two fathers. One was called Willy Brandt, the West German chancellor and Nobel Peace Prize winner. The other was Gunter Guillaume, Brandt’s adviser. When it was discovered that Guillaume was an East German spy, Brandt resigned in 1974. Coming as they did during the Cold War, these events didn’t only disturb the public. Pierre Guillaume’s world collapsed around him with the arrest of his parents, and the 12-year-old Matthias Brandt had to move house when his father resigned.
Director Doris Metz’s excellent documentary provides an intimate exploration of recent German history through the eyes of two sons who share their recollections of their fathers. The film reveals surprising parallels between both men’s relationships with their dads. Neither father was close to his son. One was hiding behind a false identity, while the other shut himself off from his family. Both became ‘ghost fathers’ who remained estranged from their children.

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