ORDER 101 is a psychological thriller about two young East German border guards tempted by the ‘forbidden fruit’ of the West. It’s 1963. The East German government has created a communist ‘Garden of Eden’, sealed off from the West by the Berlin Wall. Udo and Klaus are young army conscripts, strangers paired together to patrol the lonely rural border between East and West Berlin. Their mission is to carry out ‘ORDER 101’: shoot-to-kill anyone attempting escape - including fellow border guards. West Berlin may be only 200 metres away, but it’s hidden from view by barbed wire and trees. However the sounds of happy freedom across the border constantly tempt the two young soldiers. In the psychological game of chess which follows, Udo and Klaus gradually test out each other’s views on the West – and escape. But how much can they really trust each other? Either one of them could be a government spy, testing for disloyalty. So when an opportunity finally arises to taste the ‘forbidden fruit’ by escaping, will either of them give into temptation? And if so, will the other enforce ORDER 101: making expulsion from the ‘Garden of Eden' terminal?
In Genesis 3, God banishes Adam and Eve from the Garden of Eden after they succumb to the serpent’s temptation and taste the forbidden fruit. I was drawn to this theme of worldly temptation leading to loss of innocence and fall from grace because of how pivotal it still is to the human condition today. In my twist on the original tale, the ‘Garden of Eden’ becomes an ideological rather than a literal garden: transformed into East Germany’s paternalistic communist state, providing citizens with everything they need – except freedom, the ‘forbidden fruit’ of the capitalist West. Adam and Eve become Udo and Klaus, two young East German conscripts, patrolling the lonely rural outskirts of East Berlin. The psychological struggle of these two young soldiers is what interests me, as they are tempted by the lure of freedom in West Berlin, only 200 metres away. Like Adam and Eve they are innocents: kept in ignorance about the West by their government. Yet, also like Adam and Eve, they are curious, despite knowing the price of giving into temptation – attempting escape – could result in the ultimate banishment: death.