Destinies of Women
Part of the Series: Reel Women in East German Film

DEFA Film Library
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Reel Women in East German Film
The REEL WOMEN collection features films about women and/or made by female directors. Strong female roles reflecting socialist gender ideals and policies abound, such as in the filmic foundation myth, Castles and Cottages, In other films, such as A Berlin Romance, women are portrayed as susceptible to the consumer attractions…
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 in despair, her family finds itself forced to move to…
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 media blackouts could not keep audiences away from this cult…
Marriage in the Shadows - Ehe im Schatten
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 the Third Reich. Stylistically, the production--in which many former Ufa artists were involved--blends classic melodrama in the Ufa style with…
Special Features from Kuhle Wampe or Who Owns the World - Kuhle Wampe oder Wem gehört die Welt?
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 Film About a Marxist Artist (Dir. Volker Koepp, 1974)
  • Original Prologue, with Herbert Jhering, 1958
Berlin, early 1930s. Lissy (Sonja Sutter), a young woman raised in a socialist working-class family, marries a clerk who promises her a better life. During the depression, however, he gets fired and can't find a new job. Desperate for companionship and money, he falls for Nazi propaganda and joins the…
All My Girls - Alle meine Mädchen
Part of the Series: Reel Women in East German Film
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, the team seems to work and get along together without a hitch. But soon tensions between the women become apparent…
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…
The Blum Affair - Affaire Blum
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. Even when the real killer's identity becomes evident, the state prosecutor refuses to accept Blum's innocence. One of few German…
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 hit and was greeted with suspicion by East German officials.…
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 film made in Germany after the war and has since…
Girls in Gingham - Die Buntkarierten
Part of the Series: Reel Women in East German Film
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 was born to an unmarried maid in 1884 and it seems that this situation predetermines her path of life. She…