watch the film now on iTunes and Netflix and Amazon

buy the DVD:

Bertha DocHouse London, UK

Karl Marx City at the Durban International Film Festival, South Africa July 2017

Karl Marx City at DocAviv, Israel May 2017

Karl Marx City at Indie Lisboa, Portugal May 2017

Laemmle Monica Film Center, LA April 21 – April 27, 2017

Film Forum, New York March 29 – April 25, 2017

New York Times Critic’s Pick: “… a smart, highly personal addition to the growing syllabus of distressingly relevant cautionary political tales. … The mystery of her (Epperlein’s) father’s life and death provides Karl Marx City with suspense, and with a concrete sense of profound moral and emotional stakes. Repressive regimes excel at creating ambiguity, at making complicity easier than resistance and at blurring the lines between heroes and villains. Ms. Epperlein and Mr. Tucker, shooting in black and white and making judicious use of historical footage, brilliantly evoke a landscape of gray areas. They also uncover glimmers of decency, loyalty and solidarity — the tiny cracks in the totalitarian edifice that foretold its eventual and inevitable collapse.” A.O.Scott, The New York Times 3/29/2017

“… a shrewd personal inquiry into the mass psychology of fear and oppression … a film that ingeniously subverts the weaponry of Cold War-era surveillance, employing the tools of the Stasi’s intelligence-gathering operation toward a far more principled end. Whereas the secret police sought to root out and destroy even the slightest hint of subversive activity among a terrified populace, Epperlein and Tucker sift through these illicit materials — and forge their own fresh images and interviews — with an eye toward illuminating the truth and possibly even vindicating the innocent. … Shot in evocative black and white, Karl Marx City is a sleek, absorbing detective story, a fascinating primer on mass surveillance in the pre-Snowden era, and a roving memoir of East German life.”, Justin Chang, LA Times 4/201/2017

The Leonard Lopate Show, 03/29/2017

“A hypnotic work of cinematic autobiography that leverages one woman’s fear to exhume the paranoia that once defined an entire country.”, David Ehrlich, Indiewire 3/28/2017

“[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 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

Included in “Fifteen Films Not to Miss” at the NYFF “More than a movie about one family’s history, or even about one country’s history, this is a fascinating conversation about history itself, the very act of forgetting, and the persistence of memory.” Bilge Ebiri, The Village Voice 9/29/2016

“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

Karl Marx City at  Movies That Matter International Film Festival, Den Hague, The Netherlands March 25-29, 2017

Karl Marx City at  CPH:DOX, Copenhagen, Denmark March 16-22, 2017

Karl Marx City theatrical release in Toronto, Hot Docs Ted Rogers Cinema starting March 19, 2017

Karl Marx City at  Guadalajara International Film Festival, MexicoMarch 10-17, 2017

Karl Marx City at Salem Film Festival March 4, 2017

Karl Marx City at Palm Springs International Film Festival Jan 2017

Karl Marx City at Stockholm International Film Festival, Sweden Nov 2016

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

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

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

“Provocative and personal… Eloquently presents a culture of intense paranoia… A director putting oneself front and center in their documentary can be a risky move, but here it pays off.” Abbey Bender, Metro 10/16/2016

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

“An intricately plotted and gripping documentary.” Mark Rifkin, This Week in New York 10/12/2016

“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’s very personal preoccupations could have overwhelmed K arl Marx City’s broader focus, but instead they provide the documentary with a necessary anchor point.” Jake Cole, Slant 10/3/2016

“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