East German Cinema DEFA and Film History

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  • Format: Paperback
  • Copyright: 2013-10-10
  • Publisher: Palgrave Macmillan
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East Germany's film monopoly, Deutsche Film-Aktiengesellschaft (DEFA), produced a breadth and depth of films ranging beyond simple propaganda to westerns, science fiction films, musicals, melodramas, spy thrillers, women's films, fairy tales, and children's films. This book covers the entire range of filmmaking under the DEFA logo, from their beginnings in the Soviet Occupied Zone through unification and shows their continuing impact in contemporary culture. East German cinema offers the opportunity to see the complete picture of German film past Murnau, Lang, von Sternberg, and Fassbinder to equally important East German directors such as Frank Beyer, Wolfgang Staudte, Kurt Maetzig, and Konrad Wolf.As an introductory work, this book equips scholars and students with the historical and cultural background to understand East German cinema and guides the readers through the DEFA archive using critical examinations of twelve films - a list one could consider the core of an East German film canon.

Author Biography

Simon Heiduschke is Assistant Professor of Foreign Languages and Literatures at Oregon State University, USA. He has published on East German Cinema, the German film comedy, and contemporary German film.

Table of Contents

1. East German Cinema as State Institution
2. Reciprocities and Tensions: DEFA and the East German Entertainment Industry
3. A Cultural Legacy: DEFA's Afterlife
4. The Rubble Film, Wolfgang Staudte, and Post-War German cinema: Die Mörder sind unter uns (The Murderers Are Among Us)
5. Fairytales and Children's Films as Eternal Blockbusters: Die Geschichte vom Kleinen Muck (The Story of Little Mook)
6. The Gegenwartsfilm, West Berlin as Hostile Other, and East Germany as Homeland: The Rebel Film Berlin – Ecke Schönhauser (Berlin Schönhauser Corner)
7. The Birth of DEFA Genre Cinema, East German Sci-fi Films, New Technologies, and Co-production with Eastern Europe: Der schweigende Stern (Silent Star)
8. Film Censorship, the East German Nouvelle Vague, and the 'Rabbit Films': Das Kaninchen bin ich (The Rabbit is Me)
9. Renegade films, DEFA Musicals, and the genre cinema: Heißer Sommer (Hot Summer)
10. More Genre Cinema, The 'Red Western,' and Stardom in East Germany: Apachen (Apaches)
11. Gender, Class, and Sexuality: Ending Taboos in Die Legende von Paul und Paula (The Legend of Paul and Paula)
12. DEFA and the Holocaust, the Antifascist Legacy, and International Acclaim: Jakob der Lügner (Jacob the Liar)
13. The Women's Film, Konrad Wolf, and DEFA After the 'Biermann Affair': Solo Sunny
14. Passed by History: Dystopia, Parable, and Bookend: Die Architekten (The Architects)
15. The Wendeflicks, Jörg Foth, and DEFA after censorship: Letztes aus der Da-Da-eR (Latest from the Da-Da-eR)

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