Off-site Event: The Cold War and Divided Germany in East German Cinematography

November 16, 2010 // 4:30pm7:00pm
Event Co-sponsors: 
History and Public Policy Program

The Cold War and Divided Germany in East German Cinematography offers viewers a glimpse of some of the Cold War-era movies produced in former East Germany. The series features five movies released between the years 1950 and 1972, as well as one post-1989 production.

Produced during the brief cultural thaw in the early 1960s, Divided Heaven was strongly influenced by Resnais' Hiroshima mon amour in its form and its exploration of the dangerous quest for a female identity against the backdrop of momentous historical events, in this case the building of the Berlin Wall. Christa Wolf's work on this adaptation of her novel, with its bold cinematic with narrative fragmentation, also influenced her ground-breaking novel from the same period, The Quest for Christa T. This film anticipated by one year the numerous films banned in 1965 for being too much influenced by the "decadent" new waves of the West, and disappeared with them into the archives. Greeted by the Süddeutsche Zeitung as "perhaps the best German film since the war," the rediscovery of this film in the context of German unification prompted a Western television journalist to claim, "The New German Cinema happened first at DEFA."

The movie will be introduced by Paul Werner Wagner, independent cultural historian. Joining the post-screening discussion will be Mary Beth Stein, professor of German Studies, The George Washington University.

The event is hosted by the Wilson Center in cooperation with: The DEFA Foundation, Berlin; DEFA Film Library, University of Massachusetts, Amherst; Goethe-Institut, Washington, DC; German Historical Institute, Washington, DC; Heinrich Böll Foundation, Washington, DC; and The George Washington University.

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