Focus on East German Cinema

The Silent Star (Der scweigende Stern)
The Silent Star (Der schweigende Stern)
Spanning teen musicals, red westerns, psychedelic sci-fi and socialist dramas, this collection of cinematic rarities offers a fascinating glimpse behind the Iron Curtain.

In celebration of the 20th anniversary of the fall of the Berlin Wall, we take a look back at 45 years of East German cinema.

At the conclusion of World War II the Soviet Military Administration granted the Deutsche Film Company (DEFA) a licence to produce films. The Murderers Among Us, screening as part of this season, was already in production and became the first feature completed on either side of the wall.

Filmmaking flourished under the state-controlled organisation of the German Democratic Republic (GDR). From 1946 to 1992, musicals, documentaries, animation and other genres created an extensive library of over 7,500 productions.

This extraordinary collection is now under the auspices of the Progress Film Company in Berlin, to whom we extend our gratitude in putting together this retrospective.

Curated by James Nolen

Thursday 22 October - Tuesday 3 November 2009
Full $13 Concession $10
6 Session Package: Full $60 Concession $48
NB > 6 Session Packages can only be purchased by phone (03 8663 2583) or in person at the ACMI Tickets & Information Desk. All sessions must be selected at time of booking.

Read Dr Heinz Leo Kretzenbacher's essay on GDR cinema in English or German

Hot Summer (Heißer sommer)

This musical featuring East Germany's biggest pop stars was the hottest film in the country in 1968.

The Murderers are Among Us (Die mörder sind unter uns)

The first German production after World War II, this film centres on a doctor haunted by his past.

Sun Seekers (Sonnensucher)

Konrad Wolf's film about women sent to work at a uranium mining company was banned for 15 years.

The Silent Star (Der schweigende stern)

The first sci-fi film made in East Germany, with special effects by Ernst Kunstmann (Metropolis).

Naked Among Wolves (Nackt unter wölfen)

In this powerful film, prisoners in a concentration camp attempt to hide a small boy from the Nazis.

Carla (Karla)

Originally banned, this tale of an idealistic teacher was only released after German reunification.

Chingachgook: The Great Snake (Chingachgook, die grosse schlange)

Serbian superstar Gojko Mitic stars in one of East Germany's undiscovered film genres, the western.

I was 19 (Ich war neunzehn)

Director Konrad Wolf's most autobiographical film is a landmark of postwar German cinema.

In the Dust of the Stars (Im staub der sterne)

East Germany's answer to Barbarella pays tribute to seventies style in all its bright, lurid glory.

After Winter Comes Spring (Winter adé)

In this documentary women talk about life in East Germany just before the fall of the Berlin Wall.

Solo Sunny

This glimpse into East Berlin's underground scene was an 80s cult hit amongst the East German youth.

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