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

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131 Videos in DEFA Film Library

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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…
The Legend of Paul and Paula - Die Legende von Paul und Paula
Part of the Series: Reel Women in East German Film
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…
Our Short Life - Unser Kurzes Leben
The fun-loving, 26-year-old architect Franziska Linkerhand works for a famous professor. Yet, she feels restrained by her dependence on him and longs to take risks. When her marriage falls apart, she moves to a small town for a fresh start.…
The Murderers are Among Us - Die Mörder sind unter uns
Part of the Series: Reel Women in East German Film
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…
Seven Freckles - Sieben Sommersprossen
Caroline and Robert knew each other from when they were children. Years later, they meet again at summer camp and fall in love. But being alone together is made difficult by the rigorous daily routine at the camp. In addition,…
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…
Her Third - Der Dritte
After having two children with two different men, a newly single and liberated Margit discovers herself. Her entertaining amorous pursuit of a colleague is a testament to the evolving independence of East German women in the early 1970s. Starring Jutta…
3 videos
Carla - Karla
When she discovers her students are hiding their true thoughts and feelings, Carla (Jutta Hoffmann), a young and idealistic teacher at the start of her career, goes against the routine opportunism, hypocritisy and small-mindedness all around her. Her superiors view…
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
Island of Swans - Insel der Schwäne
When he is 14, Stefan's parents decide to move the family to Marzahn, a desolate high-rise suburb of Berlin that is still under construction. Stefan's innocent childhood suddenly ends when he encounters the bullying of an older boy and his…
Hot Summer - Heisser Sommer
Part of the Series: Reel Women in East German Film
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 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
Divided Heaven - Der geteilte Himmel
Part of the Series: Reel Women in East German Film
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…
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
Look at this City - Schaut Auf Diese Stadt
This fast-paced montage represents West Berlin as the frontline of neo-fascism, terrorism and neo-colonialism, against which the peaceful city of East Berlin requires an "antifascist defense." A strikingly modernist propaganda piece, it uses rare authentic images and newsreels from both…
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
Rumpelstiltskin - Das Zaubermännchen
A boastful miller pretends that his daughter Marie can spin straw into gold, and so she is locked into a room full of straw and ordered to spin it into gold by the next morning. A little man appears and…
The Silent Star - Der schweigende Stern
The first science-fiction film brought out in East Germany, The Silent Star is based on Stanislaw Lem's mysterious novel, The Astronauts (1951). In it, an international expedition is sent to Venus to decipher a message found in the Gobi desert…
3 videos
The Flying Dutchman - Der fliegende Holländer
In order to escape her narrow and restrictive life, Senta, the daughter of a rich shipowner, seeks refuge in her fantasies and dreams. In this realm of imagination, a bold and restless sea captain appears to her--the Flying Dutchman--who is…
3 videos
The Land Beyond the Rainbow - Das Land Hinter Dem Regenbogen
This harsh, yet poetic critique of Stalinism in East Germany centers on the mythical village of Stalina in 1953. The villagers legitimize injustice by glorifying "real existing socialism" ... at the same time as they experience their own destruction by…