DEFA Film Library
at the University of Massachusetts Amherst
Cinema of East Germany
MADE IN WEST | EAST GERMANY
A film series available from the Goethe-Institut Boston and
the DEFA Film Library at the University of Massachusetts Amherst
As we pass the twentieth anniversary of the fall of the Wall and German unification, scholars are increasingly looking for new ways to assess and teach about the Cold War period in German history and culture. Particularly challenging is the task of understanding the interconnections, as well as differences between East and West Germany - on political and economic, but also on social and cultural levels. The MADE IN EAST / WEST GERMANY film series draws on the holdings of the DEFA Film Library, which mainly specializes in East German films, and the Goethe-Institut Boston, which mainly houses West German films.
Despite the division of Germany after WWII, scriptwriters, directors and other film artists on both sides were inspired by similar subjects, including: the War, the Holocaust and German guilt; the division of the country and its position at the center of the Cold War; daily life, the role of women and youth culture. There were, of course, predictable differences between East and West German films addressing given topics; but at the same time, similarities, traditions and connections clearly linked the two film cultures. The MADE IN EAST / WEST GERMANY series compares and contrasts films made in the FRG and GDR as a contribution to the evaluatation of how such subjects were handled and represented in two social systems and from two global perspectives.
As a stimulus for exploring these questions and teaching about these topics in more depth, MADE IN EAST / WEST GERMANY features pairs of films made in the FRG and GDR, respectively. The series currently includes seven pairs of films, focusing on WWII, the building of the Wall and the division of Germany. Series offerings will expand into new domains, by adding new film pairings in the future. Future topics include: Grenzgänger; genre films; adaptations of German literary classics; migration, immigration and emigration; and the influence of American films East and West.
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