Also during and after the completion the film provoked controversy:
We had shown the terrorists as humans, and the Stasi man that so caringly attended to them did not fit the usual cliché as well. Generally, the entire representation of life in the east – the ones in the west thought – was wrong! (Schlöndorff 2011, p. 447).
Inge Viett, the original consultant for the film, distanced herself from the project, reasoning that the film “depoliticizes” and is too “grandstanding” (SPIEGEL, 16/02/2000). For Viett Schlöndorff did not show plainly that the film tells a fictive story with fictive people in it – and sued him for copyright infringement. They reached an out-of-court agreement.
At the same time the film was shown at the Berlinale with great success:
Bibiana Beglau, who was being celebrated as the discovery of the film, and Nadja Uhl were awarded with the Silberner Bären ex aequo for their performance, Volker Schlöndorff received the Großer Preis der Europäischen Film- und Fernsehakademie (European Film and TV Academy) (“Blauer Engel”). However, the critics are divided: the view of the GDR is seen as a nostalgic romanticisation of the West terrorism and GDR daily life (Kaden, Martina in: B.Z., 14/09/2000), the film being “obliging, populist, banal” (cited after Kilb, Andreas in: FAZ, 14/09/2000). On the other hand Schlöndorff’s examination with the German-German past is seen as an “unexpected comeback” (Kilb 2000), his “laconic production style” as “congenial replenishment” to Kohlhaas’ “pointed dialogs and his dry humor” (Hamacher, Rolf Ruediger in: filmecho | filmwoche 36/2000) and the film as revival of the “German art cinema, including its political intention” (Palma, Claudia, in: MAZ, 09/09/2000).