“Westdeutsches Fernsehen has a well-deserved rep of specializing in docu-fiction of sociopolit slant, and Paule Paulaender had the cards stacked from the beginning to draw comment on the plight of low earning Schleswig-Holstein farmers exploited by banks aiming to profit from their gradual ruin.
“Reinhard Hauff's pic deals with a stubborn farmer over his head in debt who is cheated further by a fast-talking investor into breeding already diseased pigs, all of which demonstrates a good measure of poverty and misery in a technologically advanced land. The human side of the story is in the title: a boy now full grown, Paule Paulaender decides to quit the farm and his tormenting father for something better, and it's a girl runaway who prompts him to leave.
“Hauff is tough in his cold analysis of the mentality of North German farmers who live today their centuries-old legend of freedom to their own detriment: hard work is the methodical cure of all ills, but it destroys the human spirit in the process and turns the father into a hating animal in the end. The boy is driven to run away.
“Striking element is the wedding of natural scenes to Burkhard Driest's world of violence and death. Chickens and pigs are put to the knife on camera as normal events in a farmboy's life, but they evoke disgust in his newly found girlfriend just released from prison, and he is himself awakened to questioning when she leaves him for a city boy at a carnival. Whether Paule will make it in the adult world is left open at the end, but the viewer can at least not remain complacent any longer regarding hundreds of such youths.”