Vistawide - World languages & cultures, foreign language learning tips, study & work abroad, free language  study resources.German language learning - German culture resources - German-speaking countries & customs
Career resources Study abroad Forum Books & Media

Books & Media

Search for more
DVDs and Videos

at amazon:

Search Now:

Culture fact
The East German film production
company DEFA first rejected the
screenplay for the film Jacob the
(Jakob der Lügner, 1975).
Only after Jurek Becker published
it as a novel, which met with
great success, did DEFA
reconsider production of the
film. It was later nominated
for an Oscar.

Try Netflix for Free!
Netflix has over 5,500
foreign DVDs
available for rental.

German Film (10)

BROWSE GERMAN FILMS: Contemporary German films 1 - 2 - 3 - 4 - 5 - 6 - 7 | New releases | East German films
German film classics & collections 1 - 2 | German directors &actors | Documentaries | German movie soundtracks

GERMAN FILM INDEX (alphabetical)
<< BACK | BROWSE GERMAN FILMS (chronological): | NEXT>>

Watch 3000+ foreign films for free with Amazon Prime.

East German Films Since 1970 on DVD and Video

Most East German films are largely unseen in North America and are not yet widely available outside of Germany. As they become released and available internationally, we will list them here.

The Architects / Die Architekten
Drama (1990)
Director: Peter Kahane
Starring: Kurt Naumann, Rita Feldmeier

SYNOPSIS: This is a social satire made in the last days of East Germany's existence. It pokes fun at the elephantine and humorless way the ever-present bureaucracy thwarted even the tiniest manifestations of originality. In the story, an architect tries to get approval for a contract which will put him in charge of a major city project. If he can get it, his career will be assured. Before he can get very far, however, political events make a hash out of his whole situation. Other architects also try to get their projects through the bureaucracy and devise countless ways to try and slip something meaningful or original past the dutiful and hard-working guardians of the status-quo.
Review by Clarke Fountain, All Movie Guide

DESCRIPTION: Daniel Brenner, an idealistic young architect in East Berlin, is deeply frustrated by life under the Communists. After receiving a plum assignment - designing a small city on the fringe of Berlin - he comes up with an innovative, fresh, almost cheerful plan. But his optimistic design comes at a price, both personal and professional. Filmed as East Germany crumbled, this somber, finely drawn portrait of life in East Berlin is one of the first fiction films to deal both with both East Germany and the reunification periods.

Buy DVD or VHS at AMAZON | Find film at alibris

Coming Out

Drama (1989)
Director: Heiner Carow
Starring: Matthias Freihof, Dirk Kummer

SYNOPSIS: It seems like a good thing when Philip (Mathias Freihof), a high-school teacher, bumps into Tanja (Dagmar Manzel), starts a relationship with her, and eventually moves in with her. But Philip has a secret he hasn't even told himself. He attended a transvestite ball and met a man named Matthias (Dirk Kummer) there, with whom he also has been having an affair. He can't bring himself to tell either one about the other one.
Review by Clarke Fountain, All Movie Guide
Buy DVD or VHS at AMAZON | Find film at alibris

Red Cartoons: Animated Films from East Germany

Animation (1988)
Director: multiple

DESCRIPTION: By the time it closed in 1992, the East German DEFA Studio for Animation Film had produced more than 800 short animation films in a wide variety of styles and techniques. Established in 1955, the studio initially produced shorts exclusively for children. During the 1970s and '80s, however, films also targeting older audiences became more common. Red Cartoons contains 16 short animations from 8 directors that contain elements of social and political satire that would never have been allowed in live-action films. Includes: Drum Beat, Star and Flower, Loneliness, Variants, The Rescue, Seven Rights of a Viewer, Mr. Daff Is Shooting a Film, Hello, Consequence, The Solution, Belly and Soul, The Breakdown, The Full Circle, The Monument, Sunday and Island Joke.
Search for DVD at AMAZON | Find film at alibris

Jacob the Liar / Jakob der Lügner

Comedy / Drama (1975)
First Oscar-nominated East German film. Novel by Jurek Becker.
Director: Frank Beyer
Starring: Vlastimil Brodský, Erwin Geschonneck

REVIEW: The inspiration for the 1999 Robin Williams comedy Jakob the Liar didn't come from Roberto Begnini's acclaimed tragifarce Life is Beautiful; it's a remake of a 1976 German film. Curiously enough, the original wasn't so much a comedy as a wistful, sad drama of the human spirit buoyed by memories, fantasies, and a lie that takes on a life of its own. Set in the waning days of the Warsaw ghetto when the Polish Jews have all but given up hope as the population dwindles and rumors fly, sad sack Jakob (Vlastimil Brodsky) overhears news of a Russian advance on a nearby German town while detained at the police station. Because no one will believe he survived a visit to the Nazi police, he makes up a story of a hidden radio. News of Jakob's secret spreads like wildfire through the town, lifting spirits and starting debates, and he's forced to start making up news to keep the neighbors satisfied. In the film's most touching scene, Jakob creates a mock broadcast for the orphaned girl he looks after. She peeks around the corner to see his handiwork, then chooses to believe the fantasy instead and sits back down to enjoy his stories. Frank Beyer's picture, which was nominated for an Oscar for Best Foreign Film in 1977, becomes a quiet, gently ironic tale about the need to believe, against all evidence.

Review by Sean Axmaker
Buy DVD or VHS at AMAZON | Find film at alibris

In the Dust of Stars / Im Staub der Sterne
Science Fiction (1976)
Director: Gottfried Kolditz
Starring: Zephi Alsec, Violeta Andrei, Milan Beli
Buy DVD or VHS at AMAZON | Find film at alibris

The Legend of Paul und Paula
Drama / Romance (1973)
Director: Heiner Carow
Starring: Angelica Domröse, Winfried Glatzeder

Buy DVD or VHS at AMAZON | Find film at alibris

Science Fiction (1972)
Director: Herrmann Zschoche
Starring: Cox Habbema, Ivan Andonov
SYNOPSIS: This East German space-travel film depicts the difficulties experienced by intrepid explorers: resistance to new exploration by bureaucrats, confusing instructions from scientists, the lure of the familiar and, of course, the difficulties of the exploration itself. In this film, the planet which might be explored, if the bureaucrats will look the other way for a moment, is called Eolomea.
Synopsis by Clarke Fountain, All Movie Guide
Buy DVD or VHS at AMAZON | Find film at alibris

Sun Seekers / Sonnensucher

Drama (1972)
Director: Konrad Wolf
Starring: Ulrike Germer, Günther Simon
REVIEW: The title of this startlingly frank story about the turbulent early years of East German communism refers not to the acquiring of tans but rather uranium miners looking for (and being exposed to) high levels of radiation within underground tunnels. Banned by the Soviet Union, the 1972 Sun Seekers was directed by German director Konrad Wolf with a careful eye toward 1950 atmosphere, detail, and the extraordinary social complexity of a newly designated nation carved from a vanquished Nazi regime, then made over as a socialist experiment. Essentially run by forced labor--party bosses draft minor scofflaws into service as a step short of prison--the mines are an uneasy hive of former SS men, anarchists, optimistic new socialists, and Russian soldiers keeping a wary eye on everything. Resentments are a constant. Into this difficult situation enter a handful of characters, including young Lotte (Ulrike Germer), desired by three very different men, and middle-aged sweethearts Jupp (Erwin Geschonneck) and Emmi (Manja Behrens), circus acrobats who had been separated during the war. Shot in crisp black and white, the film is an unusual hybrid of level-headed neo-realism and bursts of expressionistic fantasia.
Review by Tom Keogh
Buy DVD or VHS at AMAZON | Find film at alibris

Silent Star / Der schweigende Stern
Science Fiction (1960)
Director: Kurt Maetzig
Starring: Yoko Tani, Oldrich Lukes
SYNOPSIS: Originally released in East Germany as Der Schweigende Stern ("The Silent Star") and in Poland as Milczaca gwiazda, First Spaceship on Venus was partially intended as an anti-nuclear tract. In 1985, a strange, extraterrestrial spool is discovered, leading to a manned expedition to Venus. The multinational crew includes American Brinkman (Gunther Simon), African Talua (Juliusz Ongewe), and Japanese Sumiko Ogimura (Yoko Tani). After several special-effects setpieces (and reams of dogmatic dialogue later), the crew lands on Venus, only to discover that the planet's population was wiped out by a nuclear error. Armed with this knowledge, the expedition returns to earth with a warning for all mankind. The film was based on a novel by noted Eastern Bloc sci-fi novelist Stanislaw Lem.
Synopsis by Hal Erickson, All Movie Guide
Buy DVD or VHS at AMAZON | Find film at alibris

Defa Sci Fi Collection
1. Silent Star
2. Eolomea
3. In the Dust of Stars
Buy DVD or VHS at AMAZON | Find film at alibris

GERMAN FILM INDEX (alphabetical)
<< BACK | BROWSE GERMAN FILMS (chronological): | NEXT>>

Vistawide - All About Learning Languages & Knowing Cultures

All content on this site is copyrighted. © 2004- VISTAWIDE.COM
Contact - About us