Dare to Dream (Traumfabrik) is released on all major digital platforms on 14th December 2020.
In 1946, the East German DEFA company took over the famous Studio Babelsberg. The vast complex that had given birth to Fritz Lang’s Metropolis was now caught up in the segregation of Berlin as East and West collided. However, until 1961, the studio continued to act as a conduit between East and West in employment and filmmaking. But as the cold war between Russia and the USA increased, Germany became a focal point for tensions as the iron curtain descended in 1961 with families and communities cut in half as a wall began construction. However, for Studio Babelsberg, life would go on, its magical sound stages having survived Imperialism, Fascism, the obliteration of war and the social division of peace.
Within the turbulent history of the studio, its place, survival and enduring magic, Martin Schreier’s romantic fantasy finds its voice in a movie that merges the energy of La-la Land with the charm of The Greatest Showman. The result is a joyous slice of romantic drama that sweeps us away for two glorious hours. But, make no mistake; this is no wannabe musical in either design or delivery. Instead, its style, panache and humour are firmly embedded in the beauty of European filmmaking and storytelling. Here, Shreirer layers his romantic drama with an urgent exploration of love across enforced borders. However, despite the pain of Berlin’s division sitting front and centre, Dare to Dream is full of hope and optimism – a glorious love letter to cinema and the power of dreams.
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Our story opens as a grandfather consoles his grandson, the young boy has just learned that love is never easy, and the expression of emotions can be equally as challenging. His tear-filled eyes lead his grandfather to recount a story of hardwon love. This story begins during the summer of 1961 in East Berlin, as Emil (Dennis Mojen) leaves his national armed service for the dream factory of the DEFA studios. Here his older brother Alex (Ken Duken) has secured him work as a walk-on extra in a pirate adventure starring the enigmatic but stroppy French actress Beatrice Morée. However, as Emil walks onto the set, Morée’s younger dance double Milou (Emilia Schüle) steals his attention and heart.
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As with so many films released during 2020, Dare to Dream (Traumfabrik) is a luscious, grand, big-screen movie that sadly never made it to cinemas in the UK. Here its beautiful cinematography, sublime score, and stunning performances cry out for the biggest screen possible. Therefore, my love of this incredible film is also tinged with sadness as it quietly arrives on digital with little fanfare. I can’t change this, but let me at least spout about this film’s beauty.
Dare to Dream (Traumfabrik) 2019
Dare to Dream (Traumfabrik) is undoubtedly one of the best feel-good films of 2020, and boy, do we need it! Its screenplay merges fantasy, comedy and romance into a perfectly packaged homage to the power of dreams, cinema, passion and creativity. Here Dennis Mojen and Emilia Schüle’s on-screen chemistry radiates warmth, their characters complex and natural, while equally magical and timeless. Meanwhile, director Martin Schreier bathes each scene in dreamlike wonder that never descends into slushy romantic stereotypes or clichés. Here the painful history of German segregation is dovetailed with the power of human desire across borders and the role of cinema in uniting our world. The result is a movie that delights in whisking you away from the heartbreak of 2020, its feel-good vibes rooted in hope, love and togetherness during the darkest of days. This makes Dare to Dream (Traumfabrik) the movie we all need as 2020 draws to an end.
Director: Martin Schreier
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