Seeds of Tragedy
Norbert Weisser plays Gunter in this made-for TV movie from 1991. Unfortunately, this movie has never been released on DVD.
Director: Martin Donovan
Exec. Producers: Sarah Pillsbury, Midge Sanford
Producer: Robert Engelman
With ongoing and endless thanks to Mr. Weisser for his support of this website. It is only because of him that I am able to present this
This is an original Fox made-for-TV film from 1991. Unfortunately, this gem of a movie is
not available on DVD or even VHS. This is not a pretty movie -- it is gripping and raw, but
that is exactly what makes it so powerful. I do not understand why it is not shown on
television at least occasionally.
This movie was filmed in semi-documentary style. It follows a single batch of cocaine from
the growing fields in South America to the streets of Los Angeles. The cocaine is harvested
by poor farmers in the Peruvian mountains. It is then forwarded to a trader in the Amazon,
after which it is turned into powder under the supervision of a Colombian drug lord. This is
the segment in which Norbert appears.
Norbert is Gunter, a cook / chemist who is overseeing the production of the cocaine, and
who seems prone to help himself to it quite often during the process... His character is
tortured, paranoid, twitchy and deeply troubled. He is facing two demons -- the drug that
has him in a deep psychosis, and the drug lord who controls his life. He knows there is no
escaping either one. It’s as if he knows his days are numbered and that life has little value
to the organization if you are no longer useful to them, if you cross them, or try to leave
Gunter is seen here working in the lab overseeing the
processing of the cocaine. He frequently bursts into a
rage, yelling and screaming at the other workers to
work harder and faster.
In this scene, the pilot has arrived who flies the cocaine from Colombia to the United States. Gunter is pleading
with him to get a man by the name of Ignacio off his back. Ignacio is the local supervisor of the processing
operation and reports directly to the drug lord. Ignacio has been hounding Gunter that he is dipping into the
powder much too often. The pilot has absolutely no sympathy for Gunter, telling him to go ahead and kill
Ignacio, because then someone would kill him and then he wouldn’t have to listen to him carry on any longer.
Gunter hears a plane overhead and realizes the drug lord has arrived at the processing compound. He goes to meet with him and is
given a talking down to, with the drug lord warning him that he has heard he is “dipping into the soup” much too often. Gunter
nervously tells him that he shouldn’t listen to rumors. He assures him that he runs a tight ship. He says he is the subject of rumors
and isn’t popular because he works his men so hard.
Gunter and Ignacio engage in a vicious fighting match with large sticks out in the compound as they are
cheered on by the other workers. The drug lord orders them back to work.
The drug lord makes an appearance during dinner at the compound. His manner is
menacing even though he starts off by praising the efforts of his employees. He then
calls out an employee who married into his family but is unhappy. It seems this man
ratted him out to the police.
Gunter reacts to the cold-blooded execution of the man right at the dinner table.
An expanded presentation of this film is available here. There is an in-depth synopsis and photos of the entire
journey of the drug as the movie traces the cocaine from the small children picking the leaves in the
mountains, to the cartel dealers, to the processors, transporters, through the streets of Los Angeles and back
tot he children picking the leaves in the mountains... it is a very powerful movie.
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