[East] German Filmmaker Iris Gusner
[East] German Filmmaker Iris Gusner
Sociologist and Lecturer Ursula Schröter
Sociologist Ursula Schröter
(East) German filmmaker Iris Gusner will visit the Five College area from September 25 through October 1. Gusner will present a US premiere retrospective of her films, including the DVD release of ALL MY GIRLS (1979) at UMass Amherst and a special screening of her unique semi-autobiographical film WERE THE EARTH NOT ROUND (1981) at Amherst Cinema. One of very few women to succeed as a filmmaker at DEFA, Gusner was one of the first filmmakers to focus on the role and emancipation of women in East Germany. All films have been newly subtitled by the DEFA Film Library.

Complementing the Gusner retrospective, sociologist Ursula Schröter will speak on women's issues and policies in Germany during the Cold War and since unification. Schröter has published widely on family law and policy concerning women and youth in both Germanys and has served as vice-chairwoman of Germany's Association of Democratic Women since 1994.

Gusner's oeuvre is marked by her portrayal of female characters. She trained at the renowned VGIK Film Academy in Moscow under director Mikhail Romm and worked with him on his groundbreaking documentary ORDINARY FASCISM (1965). In 1970, she started at the DEFA Studio for Feature Films as assistant director to Konrad Wolf on his film GOYA (1971). Her much-heralded debut film, THE DOVE ON THE ROOF (1973/2010, Five-College US premiere, summer 2011) was banned for showing workers "in distress." She finally achieved acclaim with her lively portrayal of women factory workers in ALL MY GIRLS, which became one of her most successful films.

PUBLIC EVENTS in Amherst | SEPT 25 - OCT 1, 2012

All films are in German with English subtitles
Free and open to the public, except where noted

See below for biographies of our guests, filmmaker Iris Gusner and sociologist Ursula Schröter

*** Tues., Sept. 25, 7:30 pm, UMass, 227 Herter Hall, DVD premiere
All My Girls (Alle meine Mädchen, GDR, 1979, 83 min., color/b&w)
Film student Ralf is assigned to document the work of a brigade of six young women workers at a Berlin light bulb factory. The team has fun and works well together... until factory bosses try to impose changes.

*** Thurs., Sept. 27, 7:30 pm, Amherst Cinema (General Admission; Students Free)
Were the Earth Not Round (Wäre die Erde nicht rund, GDR, 1981, 87 min., color)
While studying geology in Moscow, Christiane from East Germany and Hatem from Syria fall in love and have a child. This poetic, semi-autobiographical drama explores the strength and limits of will and desire.

*** Fri., Sept. 28, 4:00 pm, UMass, Thatcher House
The Blue Light (Das blaue Licht, GDR, 1976, 82 min., color)
Based on a Grimm's fairy tale. Farmer Hans is returning from war angry at his king, who hasn't paid him. On the way, a witch asks him to retrieve a blue light. (See below)

*** Mon., Oct. 1, 7:30 pm, UMass, 227 Herter Hall
Bailing Out (Kaskade Rückwärts, GDR, 1983, 96 min., color)
Maja is thirty-something and a widow. Her daughter is frustrated that Maja cannot seem to get over her husband's death. Then she picks up and moves to the city. A story that balances romance and satire, with ironic sideswipes at daily life in East Germany.

LECTURES & COLLOQUIA -- with filmmaker Iris Gusner and sociologist Ursula Schröter

*** Wed., Sept. 26, 4:00-6:00 pm, UMass, 301 Herter Hall
"Socialist Patriarchy? East German Policy on Women"
A lecture by sociologist Ursula Schröter, who has written widely on women's rights and policy in both Germanys. She has been the vice-chairwoman of Germany's Association of Democratic Women since 1994.

This lecture will be conducted in English and is supported by the Rosa Luxemburg Foundation.

*** Thurs., Sept. 27, 4:00-5:30 pm, UMass, 301 Herter Hall
"Women's Filmmaking in East Germany" -- Colloquium of the Film Studies Graduate Certificate Program.
Iris Gusner will talk about her studies at VGIK Film Academy in Moscow and career as one of East Germany's few female directors. Ursula Schröter will also be present for discussions of women in East German film culture.

*** Fri., Sept. 28, 4:00 pm, UMass, Thatcher House
Film+Talk+Pizza with director Iris Gusner
The Blue Light (Das blaue Licht, GDR, 1976, 82 min., color)
See description above.

Hosted by the Thatcher German program, sponsored by the Max Kade Foundation.

These events were made possible by the following partners:
At the University of Massachusetts Amherst: DEFA Film Library; German and Scandinavian Studies, LLC; Interdepartmental Program in Film Studies; Women, Gender & Sexuality Studies; Max Kade Thatcher German Language Suite; UMass Arts Council. Amherst College Department of German; Hampshire College Berlin Program; Mount Holyoke College Department of German Studies; Smith College Department of German Studies. Five College Faculty Seminar in German Studies. Five College Women's Studies Research Center. In Berlin: DEFA Foundation, Rosa Luxemburg Foundation, ICESTORM Entertainment, PROGRESS Film-Verleih, durchblickreisen.