The German film "Der Laden (" The Shop ") depicts rural life on the German-Polish border in 1919. It has some important illustrations of childrens' clothes in it. The boy Esau is the central character, a boy of 11. He usually wears shorts with long brown stockings, a dark
colored shirt, and a sleeveless vest. In some scenes, he wears a Polish collarless shirt which buttons up to the neck like a Russian blouse (the Russian influence, I think). In other scenes we see him barefoot. The action is set in rural eastern Germany just across the Polish border. The border was a new one. Northwest Poland was until Germany's defeat in World War I a part of the German Empire. Poland as an independent country in 1918-19 arose out of the Polish populated areas of the German, Ausrtro-Hungarian, and Russian Empires. The film accuratly shows the shift that was taking place in long stockings colors. Brown-colored long stockings becames increasing common after World War I. This was especially the case in Germany as long stockings were so commonly worn by children there.
The German film "Der Laden (" The Shop ") depicts rural life on the German-Polish border in 1919. The film was released in 1998. The dialogue is in
German (no subtitles).
The story is based on the actual life of the East German author, Erwin
The child actor who plays Esau is Ole Brandmeyer. Esau is the central figure in the film and depicted as child and an adult. Ole very effeectively plays Esau as a boy. He was born in 1986. His grandfather played by Martin Benrathis is Esau's one source of support in a largely dysfunctionsl family. The relationship is senstively developed in the film. Esau's younger brother Frede is played by Oliver Bröcker.
The film was a mini-series and was shown in three parts on German television. The
part we are talking about is the First Part (Der Laden: Erster Teil). The main character is Esau, a boy of about 10 years old. He moves with his family to a remote rural village on the German-Polish border with his two younger brothers and sister and also with his parents and grandparents. The family start a bakery and general store in the new location. Esau is precocious and eventually grows up to become a writer. In order to help his family succeed in their new business, he tries to make friends in the neighborhood. But his life is fairly chaotic nevertheless. His school teacher whips the boys in his class for minor infractions and his father has a very bad temper while his mother is given to fits of fainting (sometimes feigned). Esau finds a kind of comfort for his sufferings and childhood confusion in relationship with his grandfather, who is a kind and wise man. In the later parts Esau is an adult, not a child. Esau has grown up although one shot depicts him on his 17th birthday receiving a cake from his family.
The setting is during 1919 in rural Eastern Germany near the Polish border. The border was a new one. Northwest Poland was until Germany's defeat in World War I a part of the German Empire. Poland as an independent country in 1918-19 arose out of the Polish populated areas of the German, Ausrtro-Hungarian, and Russian Empires.
"Der Laden" has some important illustrations of childrens' clothes in it. One can
see the Polish-Russian influence in the style of the blouse that Esau sometimes wears. It buttons up the front to a collarless neckband. Esau always wears short pants with suspenders and usually very long brown stockings that reach almost all the way up his legs. In the picture shown here, you can see the fastener on his hose supporter, obviously attached to a Leibchen. Esau also wears collared shirts and often a sleeveless vest. The film accuratly shows the shift that was taking place in long stockings colors. Brown-colored long stockings becames increasing common after World War I. This was especially the case in Germany as long stockings were so commonly worn by children there. The time right after World war I was a time when the style was changing from black long stockings worn with knee pants to brown or grey long stockings worn with much shorter trousers (what we now call shorts), so in this sense, we can detect an historical shift in the color of the long stockings worn by boys. But the stocking color in the film proper does not change.
The film doesn't show "shifts in long stocking colors" although it implies such change. Esau wears only brown long stockings throughout, although he sometimes goes barefoot also.
An additional point about "Der Laden". We can see the Waschknopff (the white button often sewn to the tops of long stockings in northern Europe which attaches to the elastic strap of the Leibchen) (figure 1). The white button was a cheaper, home-made alternative to the metal clasp that was always used on hose supporters in the United States and only sometimes in Europe. In the Swedish film, "Fanny and Alexander," Alexander's hose supporters have the metal clasp, not the white button (probably in part a reflection of his higher social class).
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