Traces the development of the state-sponsored company (DEFA), which was primarily responsible for film production in East Germany from 1946 to 1992. Most of the 16 essays were presented at a conference in Reading, England, at an unspecified date. Looking at specific films and scriptwriters, they analyze the representation of fascism and anti-fascism in the 1940s and 1950s, conflicts between the state and film makers in the 1960s, and social-political criticism of the 1970s and early 1980s. Paper edition (unseen), $25. Annotation copyrighted by Book News, Inc., Portland, OR
East German Cinema in its National and Transnational Contexts
Author: Séan Allan
Publisher: Berghahn Books
Category: Performing Arts
By the time the Berlin Wall collapsed, the cinema of the German Democratic Republic—to the extent it was considered at all—was widely regarded as a footnote to European film history, with little of enduring value. Since then, interest in East German cinema has exploded, inspiring innumerable festivals, books, and exhibits on the GDR’s rich and varied filmic output. In Re-Imagining DEFA, leading international experts take stock of this vibrant landscape and plot an ambitious course for future research, one that considers other cinematic traditions, brings genre and popular works into the fold, and encompasses DEFA’s complex post-unification “afterlife.”
A study in English of women on the East German screen. This book traces how the ideological discourse regarding the depiction of women in the cinema changed in response to international political developments, national trends, and cultural policies.
East Germany's film monopoly, Deutsche Film-Aktiengesellschaft, produced a films ranging beyond simple propaganda to westerns, musicals, and children's films, among others. This book equips scholars with the historical background to understand East German cinema and guides the readers through the DEFA archive via examinations of twelve films.
East Germany’s ruling party never officially acknowledged responsibility for the crimes committed in Germany’s name during the Third Reich. Instead, it cast communists as both victims of and victors over National Socialist oppression while marginalizing discussions of Jewish suffering. Yet for the 1977 Academy Awards, the Ministry of Culture submitted Jakob der Lügner – a film focused exclusively on Jewish victimhood that would become the only East German film to ever be officially nominated. By combining close analyses of key films with extensive archival research, this book explores how GDR filmmakers depicted Jews and the Holocaust in a country where memories of Nazi persecution were highly prescribed, tightly controlled and invariably political.
More than twenty years after its collapse in 1989, the Berlin Wall remains a symbol of the vigour with which communist East Germany kept out the 'corrupting influences' of neighbouring West Germany. However, despite the restrictions, a surprising number of artistic works, including international films, did 'cross the Wall' and reach audiences in the wide network of cinemas in East Germany.<BR> This book takes a fresh look at cinema as a social and cultural phenomenon in the German Democratic Republic (GDR) and analyses the transnational film relations between East Germany and the rest of the world. Drawing on a range of new archival material, the author explores which films were imported from the West, what criteria were applied in their selection, how they were received by the national press and film audiences, and how these imports related to DEFA (East German) cinema. The author places DEFA films alongside the international films exhibited in the GDR and argues that film in East Germany was actually more transnational in character than previously thought.
Anti-Heimat Cinema: The Jewish Invention of the German Landscape studies an overlooked yet fundamental element of German popular culture in the twentieth century. In tracing Jewish filmmakers’ contemplations of “Heimat”—a provincial German landscape associated with belonging and authenticity—it analyzes their distinctive contribution to the German identity discourse between 1918 and 1968. In its emphasis on rootedness and homogeneity Heimat seemed to challenge the validity and significance of Jewish emancipation. Several acculturation-seeking Jewish artists and intellectuals, however, endeavored to conceive a notion of Heimat that would rather substantiate their belonging. This book considers Jewish filmmakers’ contribution to this endeavor. It shows how they devised the landscapes of the German “Homeland” as Jews, namely, as acculturated “outsiders within.” Through appropriation of generic Heimat imagery, the films discussed in the book integrate criticism of national chauvinism into German mainstream culture from World War I to the Cold War. Consequently, these Jewish filmmakers anticipated the anti-Heimat film of the ensuing decades, and functioned as an uncredited inspiration for the critical New German Cinema.
Historical Dictionary of German Cinema, Second Edition contains a chronology, an introduction, appendixes and a bibliography. The dictionary section has over 200 cross-referenced entries on directors, actors, films, cinematographers, composers, producers, and major historical events that affected the direction and development of German cinema.
A study of the reception in Great Britain of the post-war German cinema, seen here as part of the wider issue of foreign-language film distribution and exhibition in the UK. An analysis of the relevant structural conditions of the industry as well as public attitudes toward non-English-language cinema is followed by a detailed reconstruction of the way films from both West and East Germany have been made available to British audiences, including an assessment of how they have been promoted both commercially and culturally. The final chapter ascertains to what extent the critical response to contemporary German features is a reflection of the general British perception of the films' country of origin. An appendix presents a list of 800 feature films, with details of their screenings on British television and in the cinema over five decades, as well as a bibliography including details of many film reviews, mainly from newspapers and specialist publications.
In the history of German cinema, film directors have developed unique visual and narrative responses to the anxieties and excesses of their own times and those of Germany’s past. German Cinema is the first English-language volume to provide a comprehensive historical overview of German film from the silent era to the present, as well as close readings of individual films.
Depictions of Daily Life in the East German Cinema, 1949-1989
Author: Joshua Feinstein
Publisher: Univ of North Carolina Press
Were movies in the East Bloc propaganda or carefully veiled dissent? In the first major study in English of East German film, Joshua Feinstein argues that the answer to this question is decidedly complex. Drawing on newly opened archives as well as interviews with East German directors, actors, and state officials, Feinstein traces how the cinematic depiction of East Germany changed in response to national political developments and transnational cultural trends such as the spread of television and rock 'n' roll. Celluloid images fed a larger sense of East German identity, an identity that persists today, more than a decade after German reunification. But even as they attempted to satisfy calls for "authentic" images of the German Democratic Republic that would legitimize socialist rule, filmmakers challenged the regime's self-understanding. Beginning in the late 1960s, East German films dwelled increasingly on everyday life itself, no longer seeing it merely as a stage in the development toward communism. By presenting an image of a static rather than an evolving society, filmmakers helped transform East German identity from one based on a commitment to socialist progress to one that accepted the GDR as it was.
Without question, the East German National People’s Army was a profoundly masculine institution that emphasized traditional ideals of stoicism, sacrifice, and physical courage. Nonetheless, as this innovative study demonstrates, depictions of the military in the film and literature of the GDR were far more nuanced and ambivalent. Departing from past studies that have found in such portrayals an unchanging, idealized masculinity, Comrades in Arms shows how cultural works both before and after reunification place violence, physical vulnerability, and military theatricality, as well as conscripts’ powerful emotions and desires, at the center of soldiers’ lives and the military institution itself.
Volume I - Gender and Representation in New German CinemaVolume II - German Film History / German History on FilmInternational film has received some of its most original impulses from German film makers however the works by women directors in German speaking countries have been largely ignored in spite of the important social, political and historical issues they have raised. This is the first work to consider the broad spectrum of German cinema through the category of gender. These volumes will be standard handbooks in film studies for many years to come.