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
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
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
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
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
A short overview of the women directors who worked at DEFA.
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
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
New to East German films? Here are a few from DEFA with English subtitles that are well worth seeing. All of these films are currently available on the Kanopy streaming service. 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 … Continue reading What Should I Watch?
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