Marta, Marta

Carefree and perky, Marta moves through life without much thought, until things get real. Every once in a while, a television movie comes along that becomes as much a part of media literacy as any feature film. It’s the one that everyone was talking about the next day at work and continued to talk about… Continue reading Marta, Marta

Simplon Tunnel

A romantic triangle story told against the backdrop of the building of the Simplon Tunnel at the beginning of the Twentieth Century, as workers battle the elements to build one of the longest railway tunnels in the world.

Love at 16

Two teenagers, who are paired up in dance class, eventually fall in love in this period piece from 1974. TRIGGER WARNING: Contains fashions from 1974. Love at 16 (Liebe mit 16) belongs to a list of DEFA films that focus on the concerns of teenagers. The list includes Just Don’t Think I’ll Cry, Too Young… Continue reading Love at 16

Long Roads – Secret Love

The story of two men, a woman with a child, and their travels on the highways of East Germany. <p value="<amp-fit-text layout="fixed-height" min-font-size="6" max-font-size="72" height="80"><em>Long Roads – Secret Love</em> (<em>Weite Straßen – stille Liebe</em>) starts when Berlin-based trucker Hannes Kass (Manfred Krug) pulls his semi-truck over to check on something. While fixing the problem, Herb… Continue reading Long Roads – Secret Love

Plantagenstrasse 19

This 1979 made-for-TV movie looks at the intersecting lives of people living at a specific address and gives us a candid peek at the lives of everyday people in the GDR. The events in Plantagenstrasse 19 (Plantagenstraße 19) primarily take place in an apartment building at the address in the film’s title.1 The story starts… Continue reading Plantagenstrasse 19

Private Party

Shown once and then thrown in the Giftschrank (poison cabinet), this TV movie about a marriage in crisis had to wait until after the Wende for most people to see it. In Frank Beyer's Private Party (Geschlossene Gesellschaft),1 Robert (Armin Mueller-Stahl) and Ellen (Jutta Hoffmann) are a seemingly happy married couple. Robert is a talented… Continue reading Private Party

East German Cinema Book Now on Sale!

It’s finally here! Movies from Behind the Wall, my book on East German cinema is now available on Amazon either as a Kindle book or a 600-page print-on-demand book. Eventually, I’ll be making it available in other formats on other platforms as well. Full disclosure: much of the material in the book is available for… Continue reading East German Cinema Book Now on Sale!

Novalis: The Blue Flower

In this wild, surreal film, the German poet Novalis reflects on moments in his life as he lays dying. Novalis: The Blue Flower (Novalis – Die blaue Blume) is recognized as the last film to be released by DEFA before the East Germany film production company closed its doors. The film is told episodically as… Continue reading Novalis: The Blue Flower

Ol’ Witch

A modern fairytale about two kids in an elevator that descends into a wasteland where they encounter a blind horse, a knight in dirty underwear, a green-haired witch, and giant spider with an eyeball in its backside. Alongside the fairytale films that DEFA made throughout its existence, they also made a few films that would… Continue reading Ol’ Witch

The Break-In

This DEFA/West German coproduction about a daring bank robber was a huge hit on both side of the German border. It’s based on an actual bank robbery that took place in Berlin in 1951. In November of 1951, a man named Walter Pannewitz rented office spaces on the ground floor of the Römischer Hof, a… Continue reading The Break-In