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KARL MARX CITY

Karl Marx City at the Stockholm International Film Festival Nov 2016

Karl Marx City – a “paranoid thriller” at the 52nd Chicago International Film Festival Oct 2016

“[A] must-see… An essayistic, quietly moving look at another lost world… The movie draws you in quickly with its intelligence, its restrained emotions and its jaw-dropping period material, which includes some wildly creepy Stasi surveillance imagery.”, Manohla Dargis, The New York Times 10/10/2016

Karl Marx City at the 54th New York Film Festival Oct 2016

Karl Marx City offers eerie parallels to the rise in surveillance today. (It) makes for a particularly resonant warning from the not-so-distant past… doesn’t have a whiff of the narcissism that plagues so many first-person documentaries. Epperlein offers Karl Marx City as her own act of painful transparency, an essential warning about what happens to societies when ordinary citizens are being watched.” Scott Tobias, Variety 9/20/2016

“A compelling family mystery wrapped in Cold War history. Dozens of documentaries have been made about the repressive Communist regimes of the former Eastern bloc, but few have been as visually striking or as deeply personal as Karl Marx City. Part espionage thriller¨ part family memoir, and part timely warning about the dangers of state surveillance. A key joy of Karl Marx City is its strong, arty aesthetic.” Stephen Dalton, The Hollywood Reporter 9/11/2016

“Karl Marx City is a stunner — an impressively inventive take on the personal doc that, with the sinister banality of its archival footage, expands from the personal to the political before concluding with a breathtakingly perfect ending.” Scott Macaulay, Filmmaker Magazine 10/14/2016

BBC AMERICA –TALKING MOVIES Christian Blauvelt (USA) – Interview with Michael Tucker and Petra Epperlein 9/17/2016

CBC RADIO – THE CURRENT  Piya Chattopadhyay (Canada) – interview with Petra Epperlein, aired on 9/9/2016

So damn good… Lean, smart, quick, well-made, and unsparing, a documentary that wastes nothing and manages to say everything it wants to say in the most articulate way possible. Maybe more striking than the film’s revelations and conclusions is its sense of craft. (Epperlein and Michael Tucker) capture ‘Karl Marx City’ almost entirely in black and white, combining their own materials with Stasi surveillance footage, declassified and at their disposal as an investigative tool; the stark tones, coupled with the duo’s sharp eye for composition, clash with the film’s core ambiguities, layering aesthetic complexity to the complexity of its subject matter. The monochrome beauty enhances the unsettled atmosphere of ‘Karl Marx City’ as Epperlein’s pacing expands the scale of her quest. It’s a remarkable picture of inbound focus and outbound ambitions.” Andy Crump, The Playlist 9/9/2016

“Part mystery thriller, part autobiography, part meta-examination… [An] extraordinary film… Epperlein’s narrative is so wonderfully compelling, with mixed aspects of expectation and innuendo, that the result on screen is not simply fascinating but also wonderfully cinematic. The film manages to create a wonderful mix of sophistication and nuance while remaining accessible… It offers unique insights into a truly disturbing and extraordinary moment in time and place.” Jason Gorber, POV Magazine 9/11/2016

“As Epperlein and Tucker attempt to reconstruct the contours of a lost nation and a deceased family member, Karl Marx City is beautiful, raw, and haunting in a way that a fictionalized account like The Lives of Others could never be.” Michael Zelenko, The Verge 9/19/2016

(4 stars) “A glimpse of authoritarianism at both its most powerful and most banal… effectively melds past and present into a haze of ambiguity around the truth of the matter… The feat of editing that Karl Marx City pulls off is all the more remarkable when one rethinks the narrative through-line of the film and realizes that Epperlein’s actual quest is fairly straightforward. It’s in unfolding every detail around the questions she seeks to answer that the documentary is able to sketch this part of history, search out the gaps we have in it and interrogate which of those gaps can be filled in, and how, and what can be done about those that can’t be filled in. Both kinds will leave the viewer thinking long after the movie is finished.” **** Dan Schindel, Nonfics 9/16/2016

Karl Marx City is that rarest of objects: an exploration of family history that avoids solipsism and manages to connect the personal to much broader things.” Michael Sicinski, Cinema Scope 9/8/2016

“Themes of obsession, guilt, shame and societal relations predominate, and it’s all wrapped in gorgeous black-and-white photography by Tucker, truly some of the most beautiful camerawork of the entire festival.” Michael Dunaway, Paste Magazine 9/22/2016

Included in “10 Must-See Movies” at the NYFF “Shines questions of reconstruction, recovery, and secrecy through a personal prism… The filmmakers construct a meticulous inquiry into not only the logistics of this surveillance state, but the mindset that motivated it.” Jason Bailey, Flavorwire 9/30/2016

“A gorgeous black and white look at the former East Germany… the cinematography from Tucker is haunting, beautiful and utterly unshakable. The narrative is deeply personal and while the highly stylized editing and photography may not make it seem like it, it’s dense with ideas and themes that will leave any viewer begging to have a conversation.” Joshua Brunsting, Criterion Cast 10/14/2016

“Epperlein doesn’t just expose this culture of mistrust, she recreates it in this extraordinary film.” Ren Jender, Bitch Flicks 10/14/2016

“Absorbing and fascinating… Unlike many nonfiction filmmakers who frame a subject matter through a first-person point of view and yet remain a distant figure, Epperlein has a remarkable and resonant family history to pass on, in which the past feels immediate.” Kent Turner, Film-Forward 9/18/2016

“Offers an absolutely fascinating look into lives of relatively average GDR citizens and documents how the Communist system continues to generate bad karma for everyone it touched. It is definitely one of the head-and-shoulders highlights of this year’s NYFF… Very highly recommended.” Joe Bendel, J.B. Spins 10/12/2016

“The highlight of the film is its visual style. Shot almost entirely in black and white, the stunning cinematography couples with archival footage of surveillance and propaganda to strike a tone that is altogether Orwellian…‘ Karl Marx City’ is a beautifully rendered film, both aesthetically and in the depiction of its subject material, that any documentary buff would enjoy.” Philip Laudo, The Knockturnal 10/17/2016

“Very very interesting. As a Russian, I have some special thoughts about it.” Alexandra Sviridova, V Novom Svete, (USA/Russia) 10/6/2016

WORLD PREMIERE of Karl Marx City at the Toronto International Film Festival Sept 2016

“A dozen years of distance expands the options for documentarians who want to mark the anniversary of the Sept. 11 attacks, but it requires insight and subtlety to take full advantage of the possibilities. “The Flag,” an absorbing film by Michael Tucker and Petra Epperlein, being broadcast on Wednesday night on CNN, has both of those qualities, making it as rewarding as it is thought-provoking.” Neil Genzlinger, New York Times 9/4/2013

“Imagine a Franz Kafka story with illustrations by Frank Miller, and you’re ready for “The Prisoner, or: How I Planned to Kill Tony BlairJoe Leydon, Variety 3/14/2007

“Can a film symbolically contain all the elements of a vast, complicated and enigmatic tragedy within the microcosmic story of a single individual accidentally caught up in the ghastly mess of — for convenient example — the Iraq war?” Richard Schickel, Time Magazine 3/23/2007

“You can get a fine, nuanced and ultimately very disturbing sense of the durable and deeply ingrained anger among the Iraqis from an extraordinary documentary film by Michael Tucker and Petra Epperlein due for release later this month: “The Prisoner: or: How I Planned to Kill Tony Blair.”  Christopher Dickey, Newsweek 3/2007

GUNNER PALACE “… this film is so valuable. Not because it argues a position about the war and occupation, but because it simply goes and observes …” Roger Ebert, Chicago Sun-Times 3/10/2005

“With Soldiers in a Palace and Death in the Streets” A.O. Scott, New York Times 3/2005

“It’s TV’s M*A*S*H. It’s also Apocalypse Now.” Tim Appelo, Seattle Weekly 3/10/2005

“The Rap on Freedom” Christopher Dickey, Newsweek 3/4/2005

“… This sweet yet utterly unsentimental movie synthesizes the contradictions of a war that is at once Vietnam redux and the un-Vietnam. …” Frank Rich, New York Times 1/30/2005