GDR, 1981, 15 min, color
In German; English subtitles
Music (Score)
Production Company
Themes & Genres:


Mutants live on a hermetically sealed, devastated planet. The film’s protagonist, a head with hands but no body, drags himself through a dreary, lightless landscape of isolated random organs and cell clusters. He wants to get to the simulation machine that will allow him to experience the illusion of flying. The planet’s dominator is a tall black birdman, who seems to celebrate free flight. The protagonist and other creatures want to leave their earthbound existence and try to imitate him. The protagonist’s flight ends in disillusion, however. His range is restricted by a cupola-shaped net, which only allows him to see outside… where free and weightless flight seems possible. He could risk jumping, but he might end up dead.

With its rich visual world, supported by musique concrète and masterly paraphrases of Buñuel and Tarkowsky, Einmart was both controversial among officials, and set unprecedented standards in East German animation. The film became an insider tip among art house cinephiles and intellectuals, who saw it as a parable of the East German surveillance state.


This short film is available for streaming as part of the collection Against the Mainstream: Lutz Dammbeck's Animated Works.


2009 After Winter Comes Spring retrospective, Berlin International Film Festival, Germany


1981 Neubrandenburg National Documentary and Animation Film Festival, East Germany


Press comments

“[The film] is one of the most compact impossibilities of DEFA film history.”  —Claus Löser, Die Trickfabrik


“The very first images in Einmart set unprecedented standards in East German animated film: a Buñuelean eye that fills the entire screen, real-life sequences of fleeing animals and a sound collage running contrary to what is seen on the screen.”  —Berlin International Film Festival


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