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Gegenbilder (GDR Underground Films)

A selection of 10 films
1981-1989, b/w & color, 90 min. Experimental shorts
VHS-NTSC, English subtitles:

General Information:

The State had a monopoly on film production in East Germany, but it was not absolute. An underground film scene made up of painters, poets, musicians and performance artists flourished from the 1970s through the 1980s outside official channels. Some, such as painters a.r. penck and Lutz Dammbeck, have since achieved international recognition. Presented here is a selection of 10 films from the Ex.Oriente.Lux archive, which contains over 200 films from this fascinating and provocative film world. The subversion of official doctrine and the prescribed "socialist realism" in all arts spans a wide spectrum in these films, from experimental and traditional animation techniques to oppositional documentary. Even though the materials were simple, mostly 8mm reversal film, the breadth of expressive modes is astounding. Music and performance art play a central role in many of the works, juxtaposing classical melodies with political satire or provocative rock and experimental sound with anti-narratives. In a country where all art was politicized and subject to state control, these works testify to the rebellious force inherent in even the most apolitical form of individual artistic expression.

"Underground Cinema from the GDR." Essay by Claus Löser from the video insert

Titles in this collection:

Hommage á La Sarraz
1981, Dir. Lutz Dammbeck

September, September
1986, Dir. Gino Hahnemann

Draped in White
1983, Dir. Cornelia Schleime

1984, Dir. Cornelia Klauss

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1987, Dir. Volker Lewandowsky

Little Angel
1985, Dir.
Thomas Frydetzki

1985, Dir.
Claus Löser

7x7 Facts About the Life of the Poet Tohm di Roes in Present Climes
1983, Dir.
Tohm di Roes

Hello Berlin
1987, Dir.
Thomas Werner

Konrad! The Mother Said
1989, Dir.
Ramona Koeppel-Welsch

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Jessica Hale