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

Those “Porcupine” Films (Das Stachetier)

Several of DEFA’s most well-known actors and directors got their starts making short films for the Das Stacheltier group. Here’s a look at the group, the films, and the people who made them. If you’ve read more than a couple of the articles on this blog, you’ll have come across the name “Das Stacheltier.” Formed… Continue reading Those “Porcupine” Films (Das Stachetier)

Rivals Behind the Wheel

One of the odder entries in the East German film catalog is this film about international motor racing: A fictionalized account of one of Germany’s best and most unlucky race-car drivers. When one thinks of East German movies, car racing films are not the first things that come to mind, but they did make one.… Continue reading Rivals Behind the Wheel

Joachim Hellwig and defa futurum

Even if you are a fan of East German films and have seen nearly everything in the DEFA catalog, you may not be familiar with the name Joachim Hellwig. Hellwig primarily made documentaries. He was a bit of a party wonk, and avoided rocking the boat, so you won’t find any of his films on… Continue reading Joachim Hellwig and defa futurum

1-2-3 Corona

There’s a tinge of irony in the fact that one of the movies that gave people in Germany a little joy amidst the rubble of World War II has a name that now reminds us of darker times. 1-2-3 Corona might be the most happy-go-lucky a film that DEFA ever made. The story takes place… Continue reading 1-2-3 Corona

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?

Do You Know Urban?

In Do You Know Urban? (Kennen Sie Urban?) a man's search for a man named “Urban” takes his life in an entirely new direction. While recuperating in the hospital Hoffi (Berndt Renné) meets Urban (Manfred Karge). Urban, has worked as an engineer on projects all over the world, and Hoffi sees him as a source… Continue reading Do You Know Urban?

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