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Other DEFA and East German-related Films Available in the United States

The DEFA Film Library at the University of Massachusetts Amherst keeps a file of films produced in the German Democratic Republic's studios that are available from North American film and video distributors. Along with this list of GDR-produced titles are co-productions with West Germany and other countries. Some films with East German- and German Unification-related themes have also been included. (Distributor contact info listed at the bottom of the page).

Die allseitig reduzierte Persönlichkeit (The All-round Reduced Personality – REDUPERS)
Dir. Helke Sander, 1977, b/w, 98 min. Feature
35mm, English subtitles
- Goethe-Institut New York

Der Bruch (The Break)
Directed by Frank Beyer
Screenplay by Wolfgang Kohlhaase
Starring Götz George, Otto Sander and Rolf Hoppe
color and black & white, 111 min.
Available on 16 mm from
Goethe-Institut New York.

In the lean days following the war, three men plan a million-dollar safe-cracking heist.

West German production
Written and directed by Thomas Brasch
Starring Bernhard Wicki and Katharina Thalbach
black & white, 118 min.
Available on 16 mm from
Goethe-Institut New York.

When a successful actress breaks her theater engagement mid-run to play the leading role in Goethe's Stella, she gains a new perspective on her life and the world around her.

DrehOrt Berlin (Location Berlin)
East/West German co-production
Directed by Helga Reidemeister
Available on 16 mm from
Goethe-Institut New York.

Through diverse interviews, a spectrum of German identities is explored and East and West Berlin are "joined" on film before the fall of the Wall.

Former East/Former West: Berlin After the Reunification
Directed by Shelly Silver
color, 63 min.
Available on VHS from Shelly Silver.

Made up of hundreds of street interviews, Former East/Former West presents a complex view of how Berliners are redefining their beliefs, identities and allegiances. As people talk about the recent changes in their city's borders, they raise the question now facing most people and countries of the world: Who belongs and who does not?

Frühlingssinfonie (Spring Symphony)
West German production; filmed at DEFA Studios
Directed by Peter Schamoni
Starring Nastassja Kinski
Available on 16 mm from
Goethe-Institut New York.

A costume/ music film on Clara and Robert Schumann.

Die Grünsteinvariante (The Grünstein Strategy)
West German production
Directed by Bernhard Wicki
Based on Wolfgang Kohlhaase's radio version of the Ludwig Turek story
color, 105 min.
Available on 16 mm from
Goethe-Institut New York.

The poignant story of personal relationships in a Germany about to instigate the Second World War.

Grill Point - (Halbe Treppe)
Germany, 2001, color, 107 min.
Production: Peter Rommel Produktion
Available from Goethe-Institut New York on 16mm and video with English subtitles
filmdepot@goethe-newyork.org or call 212-439-8690

Everyday life of two acquainted couples in Frankfurt on the Oder who hang out at the pub, work at a radio station and in sales. For no apparent reason, one of the husbands falls in love with the other wife. The betrayed partners are furious, helpless, hurt. The new couple is already looking for a new flat, but the husband ultimately returns to his wife. The other husband, however, will remain alone, for his wife prefers to be free. - Catalog Goethe-Institut 

Kinder, Kader, Kommandeure (Strictly Propaganda)
Directed by Wolfgang Kissel
color, 94 min.
Available on 16mm and VHS from First Run/Icarus Films.

The history of the German Democratic Republic is told through East Germany's official newsreels and state films. A fast moving compendium of East Germany's forty years, the film presents beaming workers and perfect children who populate a world so bizarre and surreal that one can't help but to reflect on other forms of propaganda--including our own.

My Second Life
Directed by Simone Shoemaker
color, 53 min.
Available on VHS from Bronco Video.

Shoemaker interviews a broad cross section of eastern German women about their lives before and after unification. The examination presents a history of women's roles in both Germanys, lending a new perspective on reunification.

Night Shapes (Nachtgestalten)
Germany, 1998, color, 104 min.
Production: Peter Rommel / Babelsberg Independents / ORB / MDR / SFB / arte
Available from Goethe-Institut New York on 16mm and video with English subtitles
filmdepot@goethe-newyork.org or call 212-439-8690

The Pope may be visiting the city, but the night is anything but heavenly for some Berlin people. Hanna is one of the city's homeless people; by chance, she happens to find 100 marks and plans to spend the money on a night in a hotel with her friend. Farmer Jochen is visiting Berlin and looking for female company. He finally lands up with Patty, a teenage prostitute. Peschke is a totally burned-out businessman on his way to pick up a foreign visitor at the airport, but fails to find him. They are all "nightbeings" - "Nachtgestalten" - in search of a little good luck, all on an amusing, but also devastating trip through Berlin in the nineties. - Catalog Goethe-Institut 

Nikolaikirche (Nikolai Church)
Directed by Frank Beyer
Based on the Erich Loest novel
black and white, 133 min.
Available on VHS from the Consulate General of the FRG in Boston, Massachusetts.

In the final years of the GDR, highly decorated security police officer Albert Bacher dies, leaving behind a wife, son and daughter whose lives this film examines. The tone of these tense days is set by the dissident sermons of Minister Ohlbaum in Leipzig's Nikolai Church, leading to the historic "Monday Demonstrations" that faced down the security forces of the SED government.

The Policewoman (Die Polizistin)
Germany, 2001, color, 95 min.
Production: Westdeutsche Universum / WDR
Available from Goethe-Institut New York on 16mm and video with English subtitles
filmdepot@goethe-newyork.org or call 212-439-8690

A young policewoman arrives in Rostock, straight out of police college, and is confronted with major social and human problems in a totally new job environment. Her own efforts to understand the underdogs and her search for a little warmth create new problems. A realistic portrait of the life of a policewoman. – Catalog Goethe-Institut 

Der schwarze Kasten (Black Box)
Directed by Tamara Trampe and Johann Feindt
color, 90 min.
Available on 16 mm from the Museum of Modern Art.

Profile of Dr. Jochen Girke, who trained would-be Stasi interrogators, jail psychologists and supervisory officers of informers in operative psychology. With unsparing forthrightness, the film tries to reach the world of this man who says of himself, "I was a criminal by word."

Stilles Land (Silent Country)
Directed by Andreas Dresen
color, 98 min.
Available on 16 mm from
Goethe-Institut New York.

Up until the fall of the Berlin Wall in 1989 and the subsequent collapse of communist rule in East Germany, the most anyone in the outlying regions of that country knew about its overall situation was that nothing in their lives had changed. Everything went on just as it always had. In this story, set around that time, a naive, young and enthusiastic drama-school graduate has been given the job of directing a theater group in a grim, super-conservative factory town. His spirits are undaunted when the locals beat him up in bars when he orders tea instead of beer or by the evident lack of enthusiasm his theater company has for producing a revival of Waiting for Godot. However, when the winds of change sweep through the country and through his troupe, while everyone else is given a new lease on life, it begins to seem as though he has lost something essential to the continuation of his. - Clarke Fountain, All Movie Guide 

Test the West!
Part I: 1990--First Encounter With a New System
Part II: 1993--The Rebuilding of a Country
1991, 1994
Directed by Simone Shoemaker
color, 30 min. (Part I) and 48 min. (Part II)
Available on VHS from Coastline Productions/Bronco Video.

This two-part documentary focuses on the metamorphosis East Germany and its people are going through while shifting from one system to another. The video looks at German reunification from an insider's perspective, offering an alternative to the picture painted by the American mainstream media.

Verriegelte Zeit (Locked Up Time)
Directed by Sybille Schoenemann
black & white, 90 min.
Available with English subtitles on 35 and 16 mm and VHS from Zeitgeist Films.

East German filmmaker Sybille Schoenemann takes the audience with her on her quest to find out who was responsible for her 1984 imprisonment and expulsion to West Germany. At turns comic, tragic, infuriating, but always moving, the film captures the aftermath of East Germany's Communist legacy.

Das Versprechen (The Promise)
Directed by Margarethe von Trotta
Written by von Trotta and Peter Schneider
Starring many former GDR actors, including Corrinna Harfouch, Dieter Mann and Ulrike Krumbiegel
color, 115 min.
Available on VHS from Facets Multimedia.

The story of lovers divided by the Wall (one goes West, the other stays in the GDR), tracing turning points in their lives from 1961 to the Prague Spring, the early 1980s and the opening of the Wall.

Vote For Hendryk! (Herr Wichmann von der CDU)
Germany, 2003, documentary, color, 71 min.
Production: Megaherz Film, & Fernsehen, Munich, in cooperation with BR/Munich, WDR/Cologne
World Sales: TELEPOOL GmbH, phone +49-89-5587 60, fax +49-89-5587 6188
telepool@telepool.de, www.telepool.de

An election campaign in the East German hinterland. Henryk Wichmann, 25-years-old and a member of the Christian Democratic Party (CDU), is running for a seat in the lower house of parliament and hopes to give it a young and energetic voice. His chances are not good in a region dominated by the Social Democrats. But Henryk Wichmann keeps on fighting ...  

Willenbrock (Willenbrock)
Germany, 2005, color,
Production: UFA Film & TV Produktion/Potsdam
Contact: Bavaria Film International
Bavaria Media GmbH
Bavariafilmplatz 8
D-82031 Geiselgasteig
phone +49 (89) 6499-3506,
fax +49 (89) 6499-3720,

Mr. Willenbrock is a successful car dealer. One evening, he and his wife are robbed. Although he escapes with only a few bruises, he can’t get it out of his mind. With the realization that he is indeed vulnerable, he tries bitterly to regain control of his life, but nothing works. His business suffers, along with his love life. Together with the gun he now carries, he is a ticking bomb. Based on the novel by Christoph Hein.

Winter adé  (Adieu Winter)
Directed by Helke Misselwitz
black & white, 115 min.
Available on 16 mm and VHS from Zeitgeist Films.

Just before the fall of the Berlin Wall, Helke Misselwitz journeys through East Germany, interviewing woman of all ages and backgrounds. The women reveal their frustrations, hopes and aspirations and their stories document the failure of the socialist state to achieve true equality of the sexes.


Aside from the Consulate, which lends free of charge, and the Goethe-Institut New York, which the German government subsidies, most distributors charge from $150 to $200 per rental for educational use.

Bavaria Film International
Bavaria Media GmbH
Bavariafilmplatz 8
D-82031 Geiselgasteig
phone +49 (89) 6499-3506,
fax +49 (89) 6499-3720,

Coastline Productions/Bronco Video
P.O. Box 343
San Marcos, CA 92079
phone: 760-781-5714 / toll free: 888-781-5714
E-mail: simone@cts.com

Consulate General of the FRG in Boston
Barbara Hankin
Phone: 617-536-4414; ext. 117 (9AM-1PM EST)

Facets Multimedia
1517 West Fullerton Avenue
Chicago, IL 60614
phone: 800-888-0775

First Run/Icarus Films
153 Waverly Place
6th Floor
New York, NY 10014
phone: 212-727-1711; 800-876-1710
fax: 212-989-7649
E-mail: FRIF@echonyc.com

Goethe-Institut New York
1014 Fifth Avenue
New York, NY 10028
Tel: 212-439-8700
Fax: 212-439-8705
Goethe-Institut New York

Heidelberg Haus
The German Language Video Center
7625 Pendleton Pike
Indianapolis, IN 46226-5298
phone: 317-547-1257; 800-252-1957 (for credit card orders 9AM-6PM EST)
fax: 317-547-1263

Kino International
333 West 39 Street
Suite 503
New York, NY 10018
phone: 212-629-6880
fax: 212-714-0871

Museum of Modern Art
Circulating Film and Video Library
11 West 53rd Street
New York, NY 10019
phone: 212-708-9530

Shelly Silver
22 Catherine Street, #6
New York, NY 10038
phone/fax: 212-732-2986

Zeitgeist Films
247 Center Street
2nd floor
New York, NY 10013
phone 212-274-1989
fax: 212-274-1644
E-mail: zeitgeist@tunanet.com

For questions related to the website please contact
Jessica Hale