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

Plantagenstrasse 19

This 1979 made-for-TV movie looks at the intersecting lives of people living at a specific address and gives us a candid peek at the lives of everyday people in the GDR. The events in Plantagenstrasse 19 (Plantagenstraße 19) primarily take place in an apartment building at the address in the film’s title.1 The story starts… Continue reading Plantagenstrasse 19

East German Cinema Book Now on Sale!

It’s finally here! Movies from Behind the Wall, my book on East German cinema is now available on Amazon either as a Kindle book or a 600-page print-on-demand book. Eventually, I’ll be making it available in other formats on other platforms as well. Full disclosure: much of the material in the book is available for… Continue reading East German Cinema Book Now on Sale!

Radio GDR Podcast on Films

For anyone interested in life in East Germany, there is a podcast called Radio GDR that covers nearly every every aspect of life there, from fashions to stamp collecting. In their most recent podcast, host Shane Whaley chatted about East German films with yours truly and Jefferey Babcock, who hosts screenings of DEFA films in… Continue reading Radio GDR Podcast on Films

Mine-Haha English Translation Now Available!

I’m pleased to announce that my translation of Frank Wedekind’s classic novella, Mine-Haha, or the Corporal Education of Young Girls is now available on Amazon as either a Kindle book or a paperback. Included in it is my description of the translation process and why I made the choices I did for various words, along… Continue reading Mine-Haha English Translation Now Available!

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)

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?

The Man from the Cap Arcona

In 1982, Erwin Geschonneck starred in the East German television movie The Man from the Cap Arcona (Der Mann von der Cap Arcona). In it, Geschonneck plays a character called Erwin Gregorek, who has returned to Hamburg to appear in a documentary about the sinking of the Cap Arcona, a luxury liner that was being… Continue reading The Man from the Cap Arcona

Journey Into the Nuptial Bed

East Germany had a difficult relationship with musicals. As with western audiences, the East German public enjoyed musicals and paid to go see them. The box office was good for nearly all the musicals DEFA made but the art form is so inherently frivolous that it drove the more stodgy politicians crazy. Making fairytale films… Continue reading Journey Into the Nuptial Bed

Book Review: East German Cinema

Fans of East German cinema have asked me if there are any good books in English on East German movies. There is, of course, Defa: East German Cinema 1946-1992, edited by Seán Allan and John Sandford— a collection of essays by some of the world’s leading East German film scholars, including Barton Byg, Christiane Mückenberger,… Continue reading Book Review: East German Cinema