Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Reading About East German Cinema

Starting April 15, the Free University of San Francisco is bringing a pair of five week classes on cinema to the San Francisco Public Library’s Main Library. For five Fridays (April 15-May 20, excluding May 6) Rand Crook will present Responsive Cinema to Corporate Empire: Workshop from 2:00 to 3:45 PM and Jim Morton will present East German Cinema: A History from 4:00-5:30 PM. Both classes will be held in the Library’s Koret Auditorium.

For those wishing to read up on the subject of East German cinema the library has the following books on the subject:

DEFA: East German Cinema, 1946-1992 is a collection of scholarly essays about DEFA, the Deutsche Film-Aktiengesellschaft, the primary film studio throughout the nation’s history. Those essays cover individual filmmakers and issues like censorship, the depiction of women and of youth rebellion. This book also provides an appendix of “Research Sources for East German Cinema” which provides leads for renting and buying these films.

Hollywood Behind the Wall by Daniela Berghahn is a complete history of East German cinema. It looks in-depth at several films and contextualizes these films within the Soviet bloc and compares them with those of West Germany.

The JSTOR database provides dozens of full-text articles about East German Cinema. This database lacks subject access, so the best way to search this topic is with keywords like “East Germany” “cinema” “GDR” “DDR” and “DEFA.” Library patrons can access this database with their library card number and PIN.

The Library also has DVDs of the following East German films:

Rotation (1949)
Goya - oder Der arge Weg der Erkenntnis (1971)
Jakob der Lügner (1975)
Schneeweisschen und Rosenrot (1979)
Coming Out (1989)

The two DVD set Das war die DDR (1993) uses footage created by the DEFA studios to trace the history and culture of East German.

Reading list:

DEFA: East German Cinema, 1946-1992, edited by Seán Allan and John Sandford.
(Berghahn Books, 2003).

Hollywood Behind the Wall: The Cinema of East Germany by Daniela Berghahn (Manchester University Press, 2005).

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