Love's Confusion

(Verwirrung der Liebe)

GDR, 1959, 106 min, color
In German; English subtitles
Set Design
Costume Design
Music (Score)
Production Company


Sonya, an art student, loves the med student Dieter. And Siegi, a factory worker, loves the bricklayer Eddie. At a lavish Carnival party at East Berlin’s art school an unintentional exchange of partners begins. When everyone takes off their masks, Dieter realizes that he did not spend the evening with Sonya, but with Siegi!


Director Slatan Dudow, a collaborator of Bertolt Brecht and Hanns Eisler, was a celebrated DEFA director, yet East German officials had problems with the film. They saw it as undermining their plan to bring together the intelligentsia and workers; they also objected to the film’s sensuality, which they perceived as a challenge to socialist morality. Campaigns that were organized against the film, however, could not prevent the light and fanciful romantic comedy from becoming a box office hit. The audience was intrigued by the upbeat musical score, the young, fresh faces on screen and the sensuous story line.


Content warning: This film contains racist imagery, in the form of a white protagonist wearing blackface at a carnival party.






2018 Retrospective Culture in the Cold War: East German Art, Music and Film, Amherst, USA
2013 Retrospective Slatan Dudow, Zeughaus Kino, Berlin, Germany
2003 Retrospective Director Slatan Dudow, Filmkunsthaus Babylon, Berlin, Germany
2001 Retrospective Der geteilte Himmel: Hühepunkte des DEFA-Kinos 1946-1992, Filmarchiv Austria in Vienna
1961 Sydney International Film Festival, Australia
1961 Cineparade, Melbourne, Australia


Press comments

“Once again, the director created a model for how everyone can feel comfortable—especially smart young women who allow themselves and their men to enjoy the lovely feeling of freedom.” —Der Tagesspiegel


“This film symbolizes a longing for political relaxation after the sad years of Stalinism.” —Deutsches Historisches Museum


“Dudow literally painted the life of young people in East Berlin in the most beautiful colors. Love’s Confusion is a film filled not only with humor and optimism, but also with well-selected interiors and bright colors.” —Berlin Brotfabrik


“If one deleted some of the GDR expressions, this film could have been shot in France or Italy, or even—apart from the university lectures—in West Germany. These free-floating young people populate a society without social context. One can only hope that Slatan Dudow will soon give us a real film, not an insignificant piece like this.”

—Karl-Eduard von Schnitzler, Filmspiegel, 1959


“Some viewers were confused by the comedy of errors mixing a working-class couple and its professional-student counterpart […] At the end, however, the temporarily divided halves are brought together, nice and clean, instead of mixing workers with the intelligentsia. [This film] was the start of big careers for the very young actresses Angelica Domröse und Annekathrin Bürger.” —Der Freitag


“An erotic, lively comedy about two couples in the crossfire of love.”   —


“Dudow’s film comes to life through its characters—people who have faces, tempers and their own will. As they go through their lives in society, they get into conflicts that trigger the plot.”  —Klaus Wischnewski, Deutsche Filmkunst


“Despite being rejected by GDR officials because it (ironically) showed the impossibility of love relationships between workers and professional-students, the film became a success with audiences.”   —Lexikon des internationalen Films

“A meditation on art and industry. [The film] addresses the [GDR] regime’s utopian vision of a grandiose cultural revolution.”   —Joshua Feinstein, Triumph of the Ordinary


Buy the DVDStream
DVD Bonus Features:
  • Biographies & Filmographies
  •  “A Case of Love Confused? Slatan Dudow’s Film as a Meditation on Art and Industry,” by Joshua Feinstein
  •  “Love Need Not Be Confusing: Youth and the New Socialist Woman in 1950s East Germany,” by Victoria Rizo Lenshyn, Amherst College
  •  “Making the Carnival Sets for the Film: An Interview with Dietmar Kuntzsch”
  • Outer Space and the Everyday: A Short History of DEFA (Germany, 2018, dir. Betina Kuntzsch, 17 min., color, English subtitles)

Shibboleth login