The actress Renate Krobner became famous in the role of "Solo Sunny". Now she has died at the age of 75.
Renate Krobner in September 2011 Photo: Patrick Seeger/dpa/picture alliance
The guy lolls in bed, great night with the little one, can now go on a bit more. But she says, "Is without breakfast." He begins to grumble, in this kind of dandyish bravado, from which some men believe to get her around after all. But Sunny can’t be persuaded, so she squeaks out a "It’s without discussion, too".
It’s only a small scene, but it’s great cinema. Iconographic cinema: the Defa film "Solo Sunny" by Konrad Wolf (screenplay: Wolfgang Kohlhaase), released in GDR cinemas in 1980. It is the story of Ingrid, "Sunny," who tours the villages as a pop singer, hoping for the really big career. This "Sunny", that is Renate Krobner, the role made the then 35-year-old famous. Now the actress has died at the age of 75.
Sunny – and thus Renate Krobner – was a projection screen for many young women in the East at the time: self-determined, brash, non-conformist, yearning. She falls in love, loses herself, wants to kill herself. She flies out of bars and out of a job, experiences violence and clingy men. But the ones who want her, she doesn’t want. Krobner has played all of this equally with a lightness and vitality that perhaps only few can. The song she sings in the film, composed by Gunther Fischer, now has cult status – it belongs to Krobner-Sunny just like the dive bars where she sings the song.
Anyone who doesn’t immediately associate the name Renate Krobner with a person will have the image of the woman with the blonde curls and sequined headdress in front of their eyes at the latest as soon as they say, "Well, the Sunny, the Solo Sunny." Renate Krobner received the Silver Bear for the role at the 1980 Berlinale in West Berlin.
The epitome of female independence
Renate Krobner was born in 1945 in the Harz Mountains, studied at the Berlin Acting School, acted in various theaters in the small republic and appeared in Defa films early on, alongside Manfred Krug, among others. In 1985 she left the GDR with her then partner and later husband Bernd Stegemann. Stegemann is also an actor.
Krobner and her Sunny are not only the epitome of female independence and an uncompromising claim to happiness, they are also social criticism, packed into the film as if casually: as snapshots in the Berlin backyard where Sunny lives, the seemingly fleeting glimpse of the dilapidated tenements in Prenzlauer Berg, of the fucked-up hotels where Sunny and her band stay, of the booziness of the men who circle around Sunny.
Sunny was Krobner’s biggest role, in the East as well as in the West. Everything that came after "Sunny," including roles in "Tatort," the TV series "Liebling Kreuzberg" and "Polizeiruf," never had the radiance as this lost woman with the slowed-down life in the GDR.