Radio GDR: Female Directors in East Germany

I recently returned to the Radio GDR studio (virtually speaking) to engage in a discussion on the female directors of East Germany. I was joined by Jeffrey Babcock, who curated a program on East German cinema for the Goethe Institute in Amsterdam, and show host Steve Minegar. It was a fun interview but shows how … Continue reading Radio GDR: Female Directors in East Germany

Carola Lamberti

Romance and intrigue at the circus in this DEFA-in-name-only film from the fifties. The circus film is a genre that doesn’t get much attention although it’s one of the oldest film genres. Studios started making them during the silent era (The Circus Man, Crown and Whip, and Circus Days) and the genre reached an apex … Continue reading Carola Lamberti

The Robe (Das Kleid)

It was just a lighthearted fairytale, but it hit a little too close to home for the East German authorities. It’s said that timing is everything. This is certainly true when it comes to movies. Billy Wilder’s Ace in the Hole was one of his best films, and had it been released in the early … Continue reading The Robe (Das Kleid)

Mother Courage and Her Children

Bertolt Brecht’s grim tale of a woman for whom war is a source of income is committed to film with the definitive cast from Brecht’s Berliner Ensemble in East Germany. There have been many anti-war plays over the years, but none so well-regarded as Bertolt Brecht’s classic Mother Courage and Her Children (Mutter Courage und … Continue reading Mother Courage and Her Children

Life Together

East Germany’s DEFA film production company greenlights a light and happy rom-com with a subtle bit of subversion buried beneath the froth. Life Together (Leben zu zweit) is a romantic comedy with a plot that sounds like something straight out of Hollywood. Karin Werner (Marita Böhme) is the divorced mother in her mid-thirties, who's been … Continue reading Life Together

Cyanide

East German television looks at the issue of abortion in a teleplay that tackles the issue head on. Abortion as a hot button topic is nothing new. Witness the German playwright Friedrich Wolf's play Cyanide (Cyankali). It debuted in 1929 and made into a movie the following year. The play was first performed at the … Continue reading Cyanide

Red Fox

Eve, the beautiful redhead who delivers the mail, just wants somebody to love. Who would think that such a beautiful woman would find it so hard to get a guy? The Red Fox (Rotfuchs) of the title is Eve Kolinauke (Angelika Waller), a postal worker in the small river town of Müritz (filmed in Tangermünde … Continue reading Red Fox

The Man From Canada

Spies from the West are planning to get a jet pilot in MiG to defect to West Germany and it's up to the clever Stasi agents to stop them. The first of trilogy of films features the Stasi agent Major Sander. The sixties were the decade of spy films. That’s not to say there weren’t … Continue reading The Man From Canada