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The Schlager Story

Loved, Hated, Underestimated

ZDFinfo, 2021, 45 minutes

Schlager, long frowned upon as shallow, is now cult again. And its history shows how critical it can be. "The Schlager-Story" takes a fresh look at an underestimated genre.

Back in the 70s, the supposedly sugar-coated Schlager songs tell the story of how stuffy Adenauer Germany emancipated itself into a modern nation: They are about feminism, guest workers, nature and sex. Today, Schlager connects old and young. Schlager Pop hits are storming the charts.

We meet hitmakers from the past - Jürgen Drews, Mary Roos, Gitte Haenning, Peggy March, and young musicians - shooting stars Vincent Gross, Maite Kelly, Ben Zucker, Kerstin Ott. Professional Michael Holm, who is not only one of the great performers himself, but also part of the cult hit revival in the 90s as Guildo Horn's producer, tells us how the hit business works and how pleasing harmonies also convey controversial content. East German legend Ute Freudenberg remembers how the strict censorship was circumvented in the GDR. Hit writer Tobias Reitz reveals the secrets behind lyrics and Kerstin Ott proves that Schlager does not only serve clichés.

With them, we experience the new Schlager and look back to the cult era of the German Hit Parade, and we gain amazing insights into a genre that has more to offer than just melodies to sway along to.

Screening Dates