GOODBYE G.I. - The Film

In the fall of 2013, another large US Army garrison in Western Germany was closed: Baden-Württemberg – including the American’s favorite German city: Heidelberg. More than 18,000 soldiers and their family members were relocated from Mannheim and Heidelberg – a historical moment. With the downsizing and leaving of the US Army from Western Germany, a large chapter of the history of German-American friendship is coming to an end. What does this farewell mean to those leaving Baden-Württemberg and Germany? What does it mean to their German neighbors, friends, spouses and business partners?

„Goodbye G.I.“ accompanies the gradual evacuation and eventual closing of Patrick Henry Village in Heidelberg. The film gives insight into a world that Germans often experienced as a parallel world – a „little America“ in the heart of Germany. In this world, behind high fences, daily life was lived and large-scale military decisions were made. In the very last moment before this world disappears, we step in to closely encounter members of the US military and their dependents. We learn what it is like to prepare and fight wars from German grounds and to return to the pituresque city of Heidelberg from a deployment in Iraq.

We look back at a huge chapter of German-American history. It began with the end of WWII, included numerous wars, assassinations, variations of security levels. „Goodbye G.I.“ accompanies the end of an era. Doing so, the film is not a nostalgic monument. It allows dissent, anger and doubt – all of which surface in the moment of parting – just as melancholy does. This is a film about the end of occupation, about friendships and barbed wire, the Cold War, anti-war protest as well as love stories, about saying farewell, leaving behind and holding fast.

Broadcasting date: Tuesday, 12 August 2014 // 10:45 pm // ARD

Producers: Daniel Reich & Christoph Holthof
Writer & Director: Uli Gaulke
Writer & Co-Director: Agnes Lisa Wegner
Camera: Sebastian Bäumler
Sound: Oliver Stahn
Editing: Catrin Vogt

Production: kurhaus production
Coproduction: SWR/ARD
Funding: MFG Filmförderung Baden-Württemberg
Broadcasting date: 12 August 2014, 10.45 pm, ARD
Duration: 80 minutes