Defa: East German Cinema, 1946-1992

Defa: East German Cinema, 1946-1992

Defa: East German Cinema, 1946-1992

Defa: East German Cinema, 1946-1992

Synopsis

The state-sponsored Deutsche Film Anstalt (DEFA) was responsible for film production in the former GDR from 1946 until 1992. This volume traces the development of DEFA and East German cinema.

Excerpt

In stark contrast to its West German counterpart, East German cinema remains a largely unknown phenomenon in the English-speaking world and one which has received relatively little attention in the academic press. This volume seeks to redress this imbalance by introducing the reader to some of the key figures and themes from the cinema of the former GDR. To this end, the majority of the chapters have been arranged in roughly chronological order. The initial chapter of the volume attempts to provide a contextual framework for the reader unfamiliar with East German cinema by linking developments in film aesthetics to some of the key historical, political and cultural developments in the GDR. Needless to say, any attempt at such periodisation is bound to be flawed and subject to revision -- and it is the hope of the editors that this volume will help stimulate such debates in the future.

During the preparation of this volume, it was far from easy to decide what should and should not be included. It was felt that the tradition of documentary film-making in the GDR was such an important phenomenon -- and one which exerted such considerable influence on the makers of feature-films -- that it could not be ignored. There are, however, inevitably omissions, perhaps the most serious being the absence of any detailed discussion of DEFA children's films, a genre for which East German cinema was held in particularly high esteem. This genre is in itself so extensive and complex that it was felt that it would not be possible to do justice to it in a volume of this size.

The essays published in this volume are, for most part, based on papers delivered at a conference on East German cinema staged by The Centre for East German Studies at the University of Reading . . .

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