Kunert, Joachim


Joachim (Hans-Joachim) Kunert was born in Berlin on September 24, 1929. He worked as an assistant director at various theaters, including the Deutsches Theater, before he became a director at the DEFA Studio for Weekly Newsreels and Documentary Films (1954-1955) and then at the DEFA Studio for Feature Film, where he remained until 1970. He joined GDR Television in 1971 where he directed important films, including two film adaptations of short stories by famous Germen writer Anna Seghers, Das Schilfrohr and Die grosse Reise der Agathe Schweigert. His last film project was the 7-part chronicle, Die gläserne Fackel, about the history of the internationally known Carl Zeiss Jena factory, mainly filmed at original locations.


Kunert belonged to the “second generation” of DEFA filmmakers, characterized by a worldview primarily shaped by the East German experience. Kunert’s feature film debut was Besondere Kennzeichen: Keine, about women in postwar Germany. When DEFA began forming production groups, he teamed up with directors Heiner Carow and Gerhard Klein under the supervision of Slatan Dudow (Kuhle Wampe oder Wem gehört die Welt?, 1932). Kunert often addressed taboo topics in his films, as he did in Die Abenteuer des Werner Holt, which focused on WWII and the unspoken past of his father’s generation. Das zweite Gleis, about traces of the Nazi-era in 1960s East Germany, gained no recognition until it was re-discovered as part of The Museum of Modern Art’s DEFA retrospective in 2005.


Joachim Kunert passed away in Potsdam on September 18, 2020.



1989 Die gläserne Fackel (The Glass Torch, TV mini-series)
1981-1983 Berühmte Ärzte der Charité (Famous Doctors of the Charité, TV)
1977 Das Verhör (The Interrogation, TV)
1974 Das Schilfrohr (The Reed, TV)
1972 Die große Reise der Agathe Schweigert (Agatha Schweigert's Great Journey, TV)
1970 Aus unserer Zeit: Das Duell (Our Time: The Duel)
1968 Die Toten bleiben jung (The Dead Stay Young)
1964 Die Abenteuer des Werner Holt (The Adventures of Werner Holt)
1962 Das zweite Gleis (The Second Track)
1960 Seilergasse 8 (No. 8, Seiler Street)
1959 Martin Andersen Nexö
1958 Der Lotterieschwede (The Lottery Swede)
1957 Tatort Berlin (Crime Scene: Berlin)
1955 Besondere Kennzeichen: Keine (Particular Characteristics: None)

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