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

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94 videos in this collection

A Berlin Romance
Mid-1950s Berlin, before the building of the Wall. Uschi, a salesgirl and aspiring fashion model from the East, is attracted to Hans, from the West. But she also loves the…
The Adventures of Werner Holt
Two 17-year-olds, Werner Holt and Gilbert Wolzow, are pulled out of school and into Hitler's army. Gilbert becomes a fanatical soldier; but at the front, Werner begins to understand the…
All My Girls
Despite his lack of enthusiasm, film student Ralf is assigned to make a documentary about a team of six women workers at a light bulb factory in Berlin. At first,…
And Your Love Too
On August 13th, 1961--the night the Berlin Wall goes up--three people must make a decision that will change their lives forever... Upon learning of the building of the Wall, the…
Animation Before Unification
By the time the DEFA Studio for Animation Film closed in 1992, it had produced more than 800 shorts in a wide variety of styles and techniques. The 16 animation…
Apaches
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…
The Architects
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 Arctic Sea Is Calling
Prague 1934: The Soviet exploration steamship "Chelyuskin" is ice-bound in Arctic waters, where the crew has finally managed to escape onto the ice. Five children hear the news on their…
Art / Work - Six Shorts
Throughout his creative life, artist and filmmaker Jurgen Bottcher explored the theme of art and artists. This DVD includes six filmic milestones on this topic: Three of Many (1961), Shunters…
As Long As There Is Life in Me
In 1914, Germany is arming itself for war. Karl Liebknecht, left-wing revolutionary Social Democrat and workers' leader, a virulent antimilitarist, is one among 110 SPD members of Parliament who vote…
The Axe of Wandsbek
Hamburg, Germany 1934: An executioner is needed. Teetjen (Erwin Geschonneck) makes the biggest mistake of his life. Because his butcher shop is facing bankruptcy, he agrees to execute a group…
Bailing Out
Maja is thirty-something and a widow. Her daughter is frustrated that Maja cannot seem to get over her husband's death. Then she picks up and moves to the city. A…
Bear Ye One Another's Burden
Two roommates in a private sanatorium in early-1950s East Germany are extremely different from one another. Josef is a communist policeman, while Hubertus is a Lutheran vicar. While Josef reads…
Berlin - Schönhauser Corner
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…
The Bicycle
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…
Blood Brothers
At the scene of the 1864 massacre in the Cheyenne village on Sand Creek, a soldier named Harmonica (Dean Reed) breaks an American flag in disgust. After he saves the…
The Blue Light
Hans the farmer is drawn into war as a soldier. Returning from the front, having been defrauded of his pay by his own king, he makes his way home. On…
The Blum Affair
In detective-story style based on a 1926 German court case, this film portrays conservative nationalism prior to Hitler's rule. Dr. Blum, a Jewish manufacturer, is falsely accused of a murder.…
Born in '45
Alfred and Lisa decide to divorce after only a couple of months of marriage. Alfred takes a few days off to clear his head, riding through Berlin and meeting strangers;…
Carbide & Sorrel
In the summer of 1945, Dresden factory workers send their colleague, Kalle, hundreds of miles north to pick up carbide, which is needed for welding jobs in their factory. His…
Carla
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…
Castles & Cottages
This two-part epic traces the development of a manor and farm in Mecklenburg, from the flight of its aristocratic landowners before the advancing Soviet troops in 1945, to just after…
Chingachgook, the Great Snake
An adaptation of The Deerslayer, by James Fenimore Cooper. French colonists and Hurons fight against English troops and their allies, the Delaware. Only Chingachgook, a young Delaware, and his fair-skinned…
Coded Message for the Boss
Wolf Brandin, an electrical engineering student in East Berlin, gets recruited by the CIA. He immediately notifies the Stasi. His work as a double agent inevitably strains his personal life.…
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…
Council of the Gods
Based on the records of the Nuremberg trial of the chemical giant IG Farben; a story about the collaboration between international corporations and Nazi scientists, whose research contributed to the…
Destinies of Women
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…
The Devil's Three Golden Hairs
In this classic German fairy tale by the brothers Grimm, poor Jacob must get the Devil's three golden hairs in order to save his own life and marry the beautiful…
Divided Heaven
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;…
The Dove on the Roof
The engineer Linda falls in love with not with one, but two of the men on her construction team, in a film that raises questions about the importance of work,…
Eolomea
Eight space cargo-ships disappear without a trace within three days, and there is suddenly no contact with the orbiting space station, Margot. The space council orders a total flight stop.…
Ete and Ali
Ete and Ali, an incongruous and inseparable pair, are fresh out of the army. Neither one knows what to do next. Ali, who does not want to return to his…
Farewell
In August 1914, many young German men euphorically volunteer to join the army. But in Munich Hans Gastl, the son of a militaristic state prosecutor, makes a decision: he won't…
Five Cartridges
During the Spanish Civil War (1936-1939), five International Brigade soldiers of different nationalities are given a crucial assignment as their commander lies dying: they are to smuggle top-secret information across…
The Flight
As the topic of escaping to the West was taboo in the GDR, The Flight is an exception in East German film history. The film won the Grand Prix at…
The Flying Dutchman
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…
For Eyes Only—Top Secret
Hansen is a double agent working for the East German secret police. He has infiltrated the American Military Intelligence Division, part of a network planning to invade the GDR. Hansen's…
Girls in Gingham
A moving saga focusing on the women in a family spanning three generations and almost 70 years of German history, from the Wilhelmine period through the end of WWII. Guste…
The Gleiwitz Case
The Gleiwitz Case reconstructs in detail the 1939 surprise attack by a Nazi unit on the radio station in Gleiwitz, a German town on the Polish border. This attack was…
The Golden Goose
For his goodness, Klaus, a good-hearted shoemaker, receives a goose with feathers made of pure gold as a gift. Not only does the goose look unusual, it also possesses most…
Goya
As a painter in the court of King Carlos IV of Spain, Goya has attained wealth and reputation. He believes in king and church, but he is also a Spaniard…
Her Third
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…
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…
Hot Summer
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…
In Spite of Everything!
October 1918: Liebknecht is released from prison and Berlin workers celebrate his release. Although WWI is almost over, the German Kaiserreich in vain sends its last reserves to the slaughter.…
In the Dust of Stars
The Cyrno spaceship lands on the planet TEM 4, from where they had received a call for help. The Temers deny having sent this message. As commander Akala prepares the…
I Was Nineteen
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…
Jacob the Liar
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.…
Jadup and Boel
In a small town, everyone has tried to forget what happened shortly after WWII. That is, until a stranger finds a book that Jadup gave to the young refugee, Boel,…
Jana and Jan
Fall 1989: Jan is almost 16. Caught while trying to escape to West Germany, he is transferred from prison to a juvenile detention center. Here, he meets Jana ... and…
Just Don't Think I'll Cry
In September 1963, the Socialist Unity Party of Germany (SED), the ruling party of the German Democratic Republic, published its "Youth Communique." This document mandated that young people should no…
The Kaiser's Lackey
This historical satire, based on Heinrich Mann's world-famous novel, Der Untertan, is ranked by film critics among the 100 Most Significant German Films of all time. In Mann's biting critique…
Käthe Kollwitz: Images of a Life
Kathe Kollwitz is 47-years-old, already a well-known artist in Germany and abroad. Peter, her youngest son, volunteers to join the German army in WWI and dies two weeks later. This…
The Land Beyond the Rainbow
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…
Latest from the Da-Da-R
In a loose set of cabaret pieces, Steffen Mensching and Hans-Eckardt Wenzel - highly acclaimed East German poets, songwriters and clowns - satirize East German life in its final days…
La Villette
Only two months after the fall of the Berlin Wall, in January 1990, almost two hundred controversial East German visual and performance artists, including Jurgen Bottcher, the Autoperforation Artists, Via…
The Legend of Paul and 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…
Leipzig in the Fall
The most comprehensive documentation of events surrounding the 1989 Monday demonstrations in Leipzig, the centerpiece of the citizens' movement that led to the fall of the Wall. The film includes…
Look at this City
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…
Marriage in the Shadows
The first German feature film to explicitly address the persecution of Jews in Nazi Germany, Marriage in the Shadows called on Germans to accept collective responsibility for the crimes of…
Miraculi
A group of young people draws straws to see who'll steal some cigarettes. With this theft, Sebastian starts a bizarre, symbolic odyssey through a sclerotic world, in search of himself…
The Mistake
It is 1988. Jacob (Gottfried John), from Hamburg in West Germany, falls in love with Elisabeth (Angelica Domrose) in East Germany. When they secretly meet in East Berlin, it seems…
The Murderers are Among Us
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…
Naked Among Wolves
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…
Newsreels 1946-1980
This 32-part playlist of newsreels gives a glimpse of what life was like in post-World War II Germany.
Professor Mamlock
A Jewish chief surgeon in Berlin, Professor Mamlock believes in reason, humanism and his country. As 1933 begins, he remains blind to the increasing anti-Semitism around him. He is troubled…
The Rabbit is Me
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…
Ready for Life
Tom, a 17-year-old window design apprentice, dreams about true love. One day, a new girl from East Berlin moves to town. Tom has a crush on her and will do…
Rock 'n' Roll
Judy and Dean, two young Berliners, are passionate about Rock'n'Roll dancing. The film team accompanied the couple during their dance tour one New Year's Eve. They discuss the history and…
Rotation
The story of an apolitical working-class family that nevertheless gets drawn into collusion with Nazi policies. Rotation was awarded the Golden Leopard at the 1954 Locarno Film Festival and is…
The Sailor's Song
The Russian Revolution is finally triumphant in the Fall of 1917. As soldiers, the engineer Henne Lobke and the stoker Jens Kasten show solidarity with the Russians, eventually disarming their…
The Second Track
Station Inspector Brock witnesses a robbery. When he fails to report one of the culprits, he starts experiencing flashbacks of his earlier failure to take a stand against Nazi persecutions.…
The Silent Star
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…
The Singing, Ringing Tree
Based on a Grimm brothers' fragment, _The Singing, Ringing Tree_became a landmark in European children's filmmaking, where it was particularly beloved in Great Britain in the 1960s. (The English voice…
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…
Somewhere 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…
The Sons of Great Bear
Here East German celebrity Gojko Mitic stars his very first_Indianerfilm_, or East German Western, as the fearless chief Tokei-ihto, whose Dakota tribe is being driven from the land of their…
Special Features from Kuhle Wampe or Who Owns the World
This playlist includes the following special features from Kuhle Wampe or Who Owns the World
  • How the Berlin Worker Lives (Dir. Slatan Dudow, 1930)
  • Slatan Dudow: A…
Stars
Stationed in a secluded Bulgarian village in 1943, Walter, an artist and sergeant in the Wehrmacht, lives an almost idyllic life far away from the war. Then one day a…
The Story of a Young Couple
A young couple - both actors - live and work in Berlin before the Wall is built. Agnes is on location in East Berlin, and her husband Jochen works at…
The Story of Little Mook
Germany's most beloved and successful children's film classic takes you into the magical settings of the Arabian Nights. Wolfgang Staudte's lavish production and special effects carried on the legacy of…
Sun Seekers
A socialist story of "atoms for peace" and compulsory labor in an East German uranium mine under Soviet control. Banned at Soviet insistence, it impresses even today with its political…
The Tango Player
Disenchanted and bitterly resentful, the historian Dr. Dallow has been released after 21 months in prison for playing piano in a "subversive" student cabaret. He refuses the Stasi's offer to…
Too Young for Love
Susanne is 18 years old. Everybody appreciates her work in the textile company; but nobody, including Lutz, whom she is in love with, takes note of her as a woman.…
Trace of Stones
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…
Until Death Do Us Part
Scenes from an East German marriage. A young couple, Sonya and Jens, are very much in love. They get married and have a child. When Sonya wants to go back…
The Wall
A poetic and enigmatic documentary by painter and filmmaker Jurgen Bottcher, who relies on sight and sound to contemplate the Berlin Wall's historic and symbolic significance. Part of the series…
When Martin Was Fourteen
Martin and his friend Kathrin find their childhoods end abruptly in March 1920, when their village is drawn into the events surrounding the reactionary Kapp Putsch. Martin accidently stumbles upon…
whisper & SHOUT
This film documents important parts of the East German rock music scene of the late 1980s, from well-established bands like_Silly_, to underground rock bands like Feeling B. This road movie…
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…
Wolz: Life and Illusion of a German Anarchist
A controversial comedy based on the autobiography of the radical communist Max Hoelz (1889-1933). Soldier Ignaz Wolz returns from WWI with an immeasurable hatred of capitalist war profiteers. He decides…
The Woman and the Stranger
Karl and Richard, two German soldiers captured by the Russians in World War I, become very close friends--so close that Richard shares intimate stories about his wife, Anna. Through these…
Wozzeck
While an anatomy seminar prepares to examine the cadaver of Franz Wozzeck in the name of scientific progress, medical student Buchner excoriates humanity for having allowed Wozzeck's fate. The tragic…
Your Unknown Brother
It is the year 1935: After being released from a concentration camp, Arnold remains working for the resistance movement in Hamburg. He has mixed feelings about his new contact agent;…

Related videos

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 - and discovers it is a declaration of war on…
A Berlin Romance - Eine Berliner Romanze
Mid-1950s Berlin, before the building of the Wall. Uschi, a salesgirl and aspiring fashion model from the East, is attracted to Hans, from the West. But she also loves the bright shop windows in his part of the city. The flashiness of this new world soon evaporates, however, when Hans…
The Story of a Young Couple - Roman Einer Jungen Ehe
Part of the Series: Reel Women in East German Film
A young couple - both actors - live and work in Berlin before the Wall is built. Agnes is on location in East Berlin, and her husband Jochen works at the Westend Theater in West Berlin. They hold diametrically opposed views on politics, art and the role of the individual…
Stars - Sterne
Stationed in a secluded Bulgarian village in 1943, Walter, an artist and sergeant in the Wehrmacht, lives an almost idyllic life far away from the war. Then one day a transit camp is set up for Jews arriving from Greece. Ruth, one of the Greek Jews, asks Walter to help…
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 result, his return to Germany is ambivalent; he finds he…
The Lost Angel - Der Verlorene Engel
August 24, 1937: a day in the life of expressionist sculptor and author Ernst Barlach (Fred Duren). Barlach lives in the small town of Gustrow, keeping to himself and wanting to steer clear of politics. On this day he learns that the Nazis have dragged his famous 1927 sculpture The…
Farewell - Abschied
In August 1914, many young German men euphorically volunteer to join the army. But in Munich Hans Gastl, the son of a militaristic state prosecutor, makes a decision: he won't become a soldier or fight this war. What Hans wants is to change his life, to abandon his class status,…
Wozzeck - Wozzeck
While an anatomy seminar prepares to examine the cadaver of Franz Wozzeck in the name of scientific progress, medical student Buchner excoriates humanity for having allowed Wozzeck's fate. The tragic story unfolds in flashbacks, as Buchner narrates. Wozzeck, a poor and simple soldier, endures humiliation and brutality at the hands…
Goya - Goya oder der arge Weg der Erkenntnis
As a painter in the court of King Carlos IV of Spain, Goya has attained wealth and reputation. He believes in king and church, but he is also a Spaniard who dearly loves his people - a contradiction that presents a deep dilemma. Based on Lion Feuchtwanger's novel, Goya is…
And Your Love Too - und deine Liebe auch
Part of the Series: Reel Women in East German Film
On August 13th, 1961--the night the Berlin Wall goes up--three people must make a decision that will change their lives forever... Upon learning of the building of the Wall, the director and scriptwriter changed the story they were working on to focus on this historic event. For four months a…
The Woman and the Stranger - Die Frau und der Fremde
Karl and Richard, two German soldiers captured by the Russians in World War I, become very close friends--so close that Richard shares intimate stories about his wife, Anna. Through these stories, Karl falls in love with her in his thoughts. When Karl escapes and goes to Richard's home, Anna knows…
Five Days, Five Nights - Fünf Tage, Fünf Nächte
May 8, 1945: WWII is over. Dresden is in ruins. But where are the 2200 paintings by artists such as Rembrandt, Raphael, Rubens, Giorgione, Vermeer van Delft from the Old Masters Picture Gallery? Red Army Captain Leonov and his soldiers have been ordered to recover the lost paintings. During the…