Free Land

The second film from DEFA captures the struggles of farmers and the people fleeing the destruction of the cities who are trying to start collectives in East Germany’s rural areas. Free Land (Freies Land) was the second film made for DEFA. Like The Murderers Are Among Us before it, Free Land is a rubble film,… Continue reading Free Land

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

The Bridge

The Bridge (Die Brücke) was a 1949 film made by DEFA about displaced persons at the end of WWII. It has little in common with Bernhard Wicki’s 1959 well-known film of the same name except its relative time frame. In this film, a group of evacuees in a resettlement encampment encounter hostility from the people… Continue reading The Bridge

Street Acquaintances

Films about sexual hygiene and the dangers of promiscuity have a grand old tradition in cinema history, going back at least a century with D. W. Griffith’s 1914 film, The Escape (currently lost). Most of the feature films on the subject—at least in America—were made for the exploitation market. The subject afforded a neat way… Continue reading Street Acquaintances

Razzia (Police Raid)

DEFA, East Germany’s state-owned film production company, was formed in 1946—three years before post-war Germany’s Soviet sector would become its own country. Immediately after the war, the Office of Military Government, United States (OMGUS) was doing everything it could to hobble German film production in the western sectors, largely at the behest of the Hollywood… Continue reading Razzia (Police Raid)

Somewhere in Berlin

The East German film studio, DEFA, was founded in May, 1946. During the first few years in post-war Germany, it was, literally, the only game in town. While the Office of Military Government, United States (OMGUS) in the west dragged its feet on film production (mostly at the behest of Hollywood), the east got the… Continue reading Somewhere in Berlin

Sun Seekers

In 1947, the Soviets began mining operations in the Schlema Valley in the southeastern region of Saxony. They called their mining company “Wismut,” the German word for bismuth, because they didn’t want the U.S. to know what they were really mining: uranium. After what happened at Hiroshima and Nagasaki, the Russians wanted to make sure… Continue reading Sun Seekers

The Murderers Are Among Us

The Murderers Are Among Us (Die Mörder sind unter uns), still stands as one of the greatest films to come out of East Germany.