August 1983. When two young men attempt to escape across the Berlin Wall into the West, one of them - Matthis Schell – is riddled with bullets by border guards. The other, Andreas Wagner, is seriously wounded, but manages to fall on the right side of the Wall.
Six years later the wind of change is blowing throughout Eastern Europe, fanned by Gorbachev's reforms in the Soviet Union. East Germans flock to the border between Hungary and Austria, where it is becoming easy to escape to the West. Andreas Wagner is now a news editor on a West German TV channel, broadcasting reports about the popular discontent in East Germany.
His contacts in East Berlin, including Matthis' brother Micha and his friend Dirk Faber, take huge risks to smuggle out films of the demonstrations - despite the best efforts of the East German secret police, the Stasi, to stop them…
Andreas's girlfriend, Matthis Schell's sister Katja, was pregnant when he escaped; 6-year-old Sven has grown up being told in kindergarten what the “right class consciousness” is.
Katja resolves to get away, but while attempting to cross the border from Hungary to Austria she is caught, though Sven manages to get through the barbed wire. Andreas desperately tries to make a home for the boy in his apartment in West Berlin, but Sven is deeply traumatized. And back in the East, Katja is subjected to brutal treatment in jail – to put pressure on Andreas.
As popular unrest in East Germany increases, Andreas is torn between priorities – devoting his time and energy to the movement – or to the task of being a good father to Sven. Micha and Dirk are in Leipzig on October 9th when a massive demonstration reveals the strength of those opposing the government.
There are very real fears of a massacre because the government has called in the army. Able to refrain from being too provocative, the demonstrators avoid bloodshed, and through Micha’s and Dirk’s film coverage, the world is made aware that the people of East Germany are in revolt.
By the end of October 1989 it has become clear that change is imminent. Even formerly loyal members of East German society begin to doubt the wisdom of their leaders, but the Stasi is still relentlessly cracking down on dissidents.
Unaware of the informer in their midst, Micha and Dirk are even now still in great danger…