Dean Reed, the talent-less and anything-but-well-known-unless-you-once-lived-in-Karl-Marx-Stadt American communist (you can say marxist to me) actor, singer, songwriter, Berlin-Wall-defender, and Soviet-Invasion-of-Afghanistan-supporter who voluntarily settled in East Germany in 1973, is making quite a big noise at this year’s Berlinale Panorama sideshow. And he’s not even going to be performing live because he’s dead or something.

The thoroughly trivial Vorzeige-Amerikaner (approvable sample of an American) has been lovingly documented (documentated?) und solemnly lifted up into the Mythical 68er German Revolutionary Walhalla by director Leopold Grün in his new film “Der Rote Elvis” (The Red Elvis). And no, this movie is not a comedy.

Back then before the said Berlin Wall disappeared with a small pop, many an unfortunate East German actually believed that the even more unfortunate Dean Reed was a so-called Weltstar (world-renowned star). A tragic mistake for the tragic confusenik as well, it seems, as Reed actually believed that the GDR was the homeland of world revolution. How tragic. Hey, as another guy from that era said: Shit happens.

And that is why films like this get made over here. Or at least I think that’s the reason why. Tragedy sells when sex isn’t (ask Sharon Stone). Anyway, Reed killed himself or was murdered or just died-the-trivial-death-like-the-rest-of-us-all-will-and-who-cares-anyway back in 1986 and now the official 20 year mourning period is over and new, previously unleashed material has been discovered (not) and I have a feeling that I’ll be staying home to watch Lost instead.

Spiel noch mal „Love Me Tender“, Dean!

Come visit me at Observing Hermann…

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