In the competition for international prestige in the mid-20th century, the Soviet Bloc had a lot on the line. For a while, the U.S.S.R. maintained its lead over the United States in the space race, launching the first satellite, dog, man and woman into orbit. Maintaining a cultural and technological edge reflected on national ideology — communism itself was at stake.When they found themselves falling behind in the beach-party film genre typified by such American fare as Annette Funicello's Beach Blanket Bingo
, East German filmmakers responded with the oddball 1968 teen musical Heißer Sommer
). Synopsis: Two groups of German teens — boys vs. girls — vie to be the first to hitchhike to the Baltic Sea for a beach party. It's an Iron Curtain musical in which the kids sing, swing and learn important lessons about classless social organization based on common ownership of the means of production. That is totally not a joke
, as you'll learn at a free screening of this cinematic curio at 2 p.m. today at the Kemper Museum of Contemporary Art (4420 Warwick, 816-753-5784).
Kemper Museum of Contemporary Art
Sun., Nov. 18, 2 p.m., 2007