Lotte in Weimar

In 1774, Johann Wolfgang von Goethe’s The Sorrows of Young Werther took Germany by storm.1 Goethe would go on to become the most important writer in Germany and it started with this book. The book is told from the perspective of a young man, pining over his unrequited love for a woman named Lotte. He… Continue reading Lotte in Weimar

Biology!

A fifteen-year-old girl decides that the adults in her community aren’t taking environmental issues seriously enough, so she starts a campaign to keep them from destroying the environment. Sound familiar? This film was made fourteen years before Greta Thunberg was born. In 1989, the government in the GDR had begun to relax its restrictions on… Continue reading Biology!

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

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

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

Damn It, I’m Grown Up

Growing up is always painful, no matter where you’re from. There’s a point in life when you have to face the music, recognize you’re no longer a kid, and change your behavior. For fifteen-year-old Kurbel, that time comes after he nearly destroys the local forest. East Germany lasted forty years. During that time—DEFA, the state’s… Continue reading Damn It, I’m Grown Up

Just Married

Director Herrmann Zschoche takes an unromanticized look at young love in this follow up to his highly romantic Seven Freckles. Not all romances have storybook endings…. In 1978, director Herrmann Zschoche’s film Seven Freckles was a huge hit. That film told the story of two young lovers, finding each other and falling in love at… Continue reading Just Married