Thematic Series

Authority & Alterity in East German Movies

Virtual Festival | June 13-27, 2021

  • 20 Films
  • 3 Live Zoom Events with Directors
  • 7 Video Introductions




Free and open to the public!

Films in German with English subtitles


Twenty full-length and short films created between 1952 and 2019, which lighlight issues of authority and alterity in former East Germany. Many have been subtitled for the first time and are North American Premieres!


Feature, documentary, animation and experimental films show the wide range of lifestyles and subcultures that existed in the former GDR, as well as addressing environmental and other issues. Films made through 1990 demonstrate how GDR filmmakers addressed state values and proscriptions, as well as differences among East Germans. More recent films show how directors are addressing the East German past.



See FILMBOX for 3 Live Zoom Discussions with Directors:

  • Sunday, June 13: The festival opened with a screening of the awarded 1989 documentary Our Children, which explores East Germany’s youth subcultures, and a Zoom discussion with director Roland Steiner. Moderated by Mariana Ivanova (UMass Amherst) and Seth Howes (Univ. of Missouri).
  • Wednesday, June 16: Director Annekatrin Hendel discussed her 2019 documentary Beauty & Decay—about the model Dome and photographers Sven Marquardt and Robert Paris, all part of East Berlin’s 1980s punk scene. Moderated by art historian Sara Blaylock (UMN Duluth).
  • Friday, June 18: A discussion with director Jörg Foth about his 1990 feature film Biology! and the East German environmental movement. Moderated by Reinhild Steingröver (Univ. of Rochester).


And 7 recorded film introductions, for:


This festival accompanied our virtual 2021 Summer Film Institute, which drew 40 participants from around the world!

Shibboleth login