Film Archive

Countries (Film Archive)

Agra 68

Documentary Film
GDR
1968
11 minutes
The “revolutionary explosions in science and technology” in an agitatorial popular science feature about the “agra” agricultural exhibition which took place annually in Leipzig-Markkleeberg. The enthusiastic sermons about the use of as many chemicals as possible, fully automated plant and animal production and the increase in work productivity by 250 percent (!) until 1980 in combination with pictures of cows ruminating to the same beat and harvester convoys piloted like Bond cars by delicate young ladies seem like pure science fiction.
– Grit Lemke

Der Letzte Trabbi

Documentary Film
GDR
1990
29 minutes
In late June 1990 the last Trabant car rolled of the production line at the Zwickau Sachsenring Factory. It was the symbol of the GDR, as average, imperfect and yet indestructible as its state. An ironic look at a long history which though melancholic never becomes nostalgic. “(...) a farewell to a self-image – to access to a big company and the recently gained freedom to criticise without restraint. Hardly anyone among the workers who are badmouthing what they produce here will be ready to talk openly about their company in the future, provided they have jobs in the first place.” (Heidemarie Hecht)
– Grit Lemke

Die Kumpel von Döhlen

Documentary Film
GDR
1960
16 minutes
A planned economy battle at the “8 May 1945” steel mill in Döhlen near Freital. The party conference resolution to double production until 1965 seems impossible to execute in view of the unspeakably hard work at the blast furnace. Enter the inventive steelworkers, the party leaders intervene, and step by step production becomes more efficient and work processes are automated ... A popular subject of the arts of that period, depicted with appropriate pathos.
– Grit Lemke

Leipziger Messe 1946

Documentary Film
GDR
1946
8 minutes
In a Leipzig still visibly marked by the war disrupted trading connections are being re-formed in the trade fair palaces of the city centre. This Eyewitness/Newsreel-style report by feature film director Kurt Maetzig is inspired by the hope that the reviving consumer world will one day be accessible to ordinary citizens, too. Until that day the motto is: ration cards and longing glances at the trade fair’s HO fashion show.
– Grit Lemke

Versuch über Schober

Documentary Film
GDR
1971
23 minutes
Unlike most documentary DEFA productions of that period this film doesn’t make any claims, presenting an “essay” rather than incontrovertible truths, a very subjective approach to a “model citizen” of the GDR media. Simple observations of this foreman at the Leuna Research Centre as he talks on the phone, sits at his desk, makes his rounds of the factory, talks to workers or plays championship skat make him accessible and take him off his pedestal. The film closes with the simple recognition “that socialism is built by people like Hans Schober, like you and me”. Which was not in line with doctrine.
– Grit Lemke

Zum Achtenmal

Documentary Film
GDR
1972
10 minutes
Workers at the Espenhain soft coal opencast mine hear a Vivaldi recital in their company’s house of culture after the end of their shift. Sounds of individual instruments are interspersed with images of their arrival at the washhouse, the work on the excavator or the railway tracks, until a violin appears on the conveyor belt and the concert begins. Art as work, work as art, and how they merge, far removed from the well-intentioned “Bitterfelder Weg”, a programme to develop socialist culture in the GDR.
– Grit Lemke