Winter Adé

(Winter adé)

GDR, 1988, 116 min, b&w
In German; English subtitles
Music (Score)
Production Company


Shortly before the collapse of the GDR, Helke Misselwitz traveled the country by train to interview East German women of different ages and backgrounds. In this documentary masterpiece, women reveal their personal and professional stories, their frustrations, hopes and aspirations—and, in doing so, paint a portrait of a changing society. The landscape and architecture of East Germany, beautifully filmed in black-and-white on 35mm by Thomas Plenert, form the background to the stories.


This groundbreaking documentary caused a sensation when it premiered at the DOK Leipzig film festival in 1988. It challenged East German claims to have achieved gender equality and undermined the official image of women. At the same time, a new independence helped women talk more openly about their lives than had ever been filmed before. 


2022 Play Doc International Film Festival Tui, Spain
2021 Retrospective POESÍA DE LO COTIDIANO: Los primeros films de Helke Misselwitz, Mar del Plata Int. Film Festival, Argentina
2021 Retrospective Everyday Poetry: The Films of Helke Misselwitz, Anthology Film Archives, New York
2020 Beyond the Wall: East German Cinema, Entrevues Belfort International Film Festival, France
2019 Self-Determined. Retrospective of Woman Filmmakers, Berlin International Film Festival, Germany
2019 DocLisboa, Portugal
2018 Images of the Future: The Cinema of East Germany, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
2009 Berlin International Film Festival, Germany
1989 International Film Festival Oberhausen, West Germany
1988 Silver Dove + FIPRESCI Award, DOK Leipzig, East Germany

Press comments

"I don’t know a more intelligent, moving documentary about how women’s lives are shaped by patriarchy." —Amy Taubin, Village Voice


“A powerful film that looks at the lives and failed dreams of women across East Germany.” —Jim Morton, 


“A kaleidoscope of memories, yearnings and disappointments that provide a vivid portrait of life in East Germany and public feeling there a year before its collapse.” —Berlin International Film Festival


“The deliberately selected images in Misselwitz’s documentary—images she found along the path or by the tracks and picked up, clips she found, interruptions for which she takes responsibility, coincidences she opens herself to—all join to create a deeply moving film.” —Bettina Klix, shomingeki


Buy the DVDStream
DVD Bonus Features:
  • New digitally restored version and English subtitles
  • Turn subtitles on/off
  • Biographies & Filmographies
  • “After Winter Comes Spring – Presaging the Wende,” by film historian Claus Löser
  • “Narrating Women’s History in Winter Adé,” by Jennifer Creech, Univ. of Rochester
  • “My November 9th, 1989,” by Helke Misselwitz
  • Original trailer

Shibboleth login