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Literature professor Winfried Menzel (Kurt Böwe) re-discoverer of the forgotten Marchian poet Max von Schwedenow has a chance meeting with country teacher Pötsch (Hermann Beyer) and discovers that he knows as much about Schwedenow than he does, if not more. He offers Pötsch a job as his assistant in Berlin. The teacher accepts enthusiastically, but in his research soon comes across sides of Schwedenow that call into question the progressive image of the poet. If Poetsch were to go public with his research, Menzel's reputation and life work would be ruined. The professor now puts all his efforts into getting rid of his awkward assistant. Despite its thinly disguised critical view of society, the tragicomedy won several official GDR film prizes.