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

Camping-Camping

A light-hearted look at beach camping, infidelity seventies fashions, and Trabants. Lots and lots of Trabants. In 1991, less than two years after the Berlin Wall came down, a film called Go Trabi Go hit the cinemas in Germany. It’s the story of a man, his wife, and their bored teenage daughter who—taking advantage of … Continue reading Camping-Camping

The Female Director of East Germany, Pt. 2: The DFF Directors

In my last article, I looked at the women who made feature films for DEFA. Even more overlooked—but no less worthy of attention—are the women who directed films for Deutscher Fernsehfunk (DFF), the GDR’s state-run television station broadcaster.1 For DEFA directors, especially after the 11th Plenum, television was sometimes used as a form of punishment … Continue reading The Female Director of East Germany, Pt. 2: The DFF Directors

The Female Directors of East Germany Pt. 1: The DEFA Directors

A short overview of the women directors who worked at DEFA.

Were the Earth Not Round

While sitting in a hospital with her ailing daughter, an East German woman reflects on her relationship with a Syrian man and her grandfather’s obsession with building a perpetual motion machine. Were the Earth Not Round (Wäre die Erde nicht rund) is the story of Christiane (Bożena Stryjkówna), an East German woman studying geology at … Continue reading Were the Earth Not Round

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

What Should I Watch?

A guide to what to watch while your stuck at home during the pandemic. Here are a few you East German films with English subtitles that are well worth seeing. I’m often asked for recommendations on East German movies that people should watch. There’s no one answer to this. I once showed my personal favorite … Continue reading What Should I Watch?

Seitensprung

While I normally use the English language title for my heading, I’ve decided to go with the German title on this one. There are a number of ways to translate this title into English. They include: “escapade,” “affair,” “a bit on the side,” “adultery,” and “infidelity.” Escapade is the title used by IMDB and some … Continue reading Seitensprung

Liane

At the start of Liane, we see the films namesake applying for a part in a film being shot at the electrical company where she works. Immediately, we see that she’s the type of person who speaks candidly, regardless of the situation. Liane works as a Springer—a job designation that’s only one step above being … Continue reading Liane