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The DEFA Film Library's (East) German Film Collection

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127 Videos in DEFA Film Library

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The Murderers are Among Us - Die Mörder sind unter uns
In 1945, after three years in a concentration camp, the artist Susanne Wallner (Hildegard Knef) returns to a Berlin in ruins. Shot in the rubble of Berlin just a year after WWII, The Murderers Are among Us was the first…
The Legend of Paul and Paula (Die Legende von Paul und Paula)
Author Ulrich Plenzdorf and director Heiner Carow winningly portray everyday life in East Berlin in a passionate, but star-crossed love story. Featuring the music of the East German cult rock band, The Pudhys, the film proved so popular that official…
Jacob the Liar (Jakob der Lügner)
In his bittersweet comedy loaded with human quirks and nuance, Jacob invents news reports to bolster the spirits of the other Jews living in his Polish ghetto under Nazi occupation. Nominated for an Academy Award for Best Foreign Film in…
2 videos
Coming Out
Although he has a girlfriend who is expecting his child, Philipp, a young teacher in Berlin, meets Matthias and falls in love. After years of repressing his homosexuality, he must finally accept himself for who he truly is. The first…
Divided Heaven (Der geteilte Himmel)
After a breakdown, Rita returns to her childhood village in 1961. As she recovers, she remembers the past two years: her love for the chemist Manfred, ten years her senior; how his enthusiasm about his new chemical process turned to…
Solo Sunny
This smash hit, which captures the East German "70's style" in its gritty-glitzy visuals and its catchy soundtrack, is ranked by film critics among the 100 Most Significant German Films of all time. Sunny (Renate Krossner, Go for Zucker ),…
2 videos
Berlin - Schönhauser Corner - Berlin - Ecke Schönhauser
They are East Berlin teenagers. They want to be free - to dance to rock'n'roll, trade forbidden western goods and get away from the constraints of their parents and the state. This classic 1950's teen cult film became a box-office…
The Rabbit is Me (Das Kaninchen bin ich)
The Rabbit Is Me was intended to encourage discussion of the democratization of East German society. A sardonic portrayal of the GDR's judicial system, the film was condemned as an anti-socialist, pessimistic and revisionist attack on the state. Its name…
4 videos
Hot Summer (Heisser Sommer)
For summer vacation, two groups of high school students hitchhike to the Baltic Sea, where fun and trouble mix to create ties of friendship and love. After DEFA made a number of "pessimistic" films for teenagers, this musical was a…
The Bicycle (Das Fahrrad)
Susanne is a young, single mother who lives a somewhat alternative, unstructured lifestyle. After quitting her job, she finds herself in trouble financially and attempts a minor insurance fraud to make ends meet. Despite its rare view of everyday socialism…
2 videos
I Was Nineteen (Ich war neunzehn)
Gregor is a young soldier entering Germany with the victorious Soviet troops at the end of WWII. But he is also the child of left-wing Germans who fled from Hitler and spent the war in the Soviet Union. As a…
3 videos
Herzsprung (Herzsprung)
In the little town of Herzsprung almost nothing has changed since German unification - except a rise in unemployment. Johanna, a young mother and widow, becomes one of the unemployed and lives on welfare. To make matters worse, her husband…
Kuhle Wampe, or Who Owns the World? (Kuhle Wampe oder Wem gehört die Welt?)
This Weimar era film classic uses an avant-garde, fragmented narrative to tell the story of a working-class family in Berlin in 1931. Survival is difficult, with massive unemployment in the wake of the Great Depression. After Anni's brother commits suicide…
Somewhere in Berlin (Irgendwo in Berlin)
After WWII, Berlin lies in ruins. For Gustav, Willi and their friends the rubble provides an adventurous, dangerous playground. For Gustav it also helps pass the time, as he longs for his father's return from a POW camp. One day…
Winter Ade (Winter Ade)
Shortly before GDR's collapse, Helke Misselwitz traveled by train from one end of the country to the other interviewing East German women of different ages and backgrounds. In this documentary masterpiece, women reveal their personal and professional frustrations, hopes and…
Apaches (Apachen)
Based on original documents from the Mexican-American War (1846-1848), this film tells the story of the young warrior Ulzana, who is out to avenge the extermination of his tribe. Apaches is one of the classic Indianerfilme, or Westerns, produced by…
Trace of Stones (Spur der Steine)
Foreman Balla is the self-proclaimed king of a massive construction site. His co-workers stick close to him, like musketeers, as long as he makes sure they are paid. But things stop running smoothly when materials get scarce and two newcomers…
2 videos
Naked Among Wolves (Nackt unter Wölfen)
Adapted from the novel by Bruno Apitz and filmed on location at Buchenwald concentration camp, this film features many who were themselves prisoners of the Nazis, as well as younger actor Armin Mueller-Stahl. Based on a true story of inmates…
4 videos
The Architects (Die Architekten)
Filmed as the GDR crumbled, this somber, finely drawn portrait of life in East Berlin depicts a young architect whose life and goals are strangled by communist dogma represented by the older generation. One of the first fiction films to…
3 videos
Destinies of Women (Frauenschicksale)
Berlin 1952, seven years after WWII. Four women are looking for a good man and happiness in the divided city. Their destinies are loosely connected through one person: the West Berlin dandy and womanizer, Conny. Released at the peak of…