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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
DEFA Matinee 2018
Der Elefant von Hoyerswerda Christian Lehmann

In his diploma film, Christian Lehmann follows a construction project in Hoyerswerda, where a residential quarter is built for the employees of the “Schwarze Pumpe” gas state combine.

Der Elefant von Hoyerswerda

Documentary Film
GDR
1959
15 minutes
subtitles: 
_without dialogue / subtitles

Credits DOK Leipzig Logo

Deutsche Hochschule für Filmkunst (DHF), Potsdam-Babelsberg
Christian Lehmann
Christian Lehmann
In his diploma film, Christian Lehmann follows a construction project in Hoyerswerda, where a residential quarter is built for the employees of the “Schwarze Pumpe” gas state combine. We see buildings being assembled and facades scaffolded; we watch crane operators, bricklayers and carpenters on the site in summer. Lehmann, who had studied photography at the Leipzig Academy of Fine Arts before he began to study cinematography, comes up with impressive visual compositions. Influenced by the Soviet cinema of the period of Khrushchev’s Thaw, especially the works of Sergey Urusevsky, he also develops a dynamic and sensual style of camera-work.

Ilka Brombach

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
DEFA Matinee 2013
Der Stoff zum Leben Thomas Kuschel

This portrait of a 26-year-old brigade leader at the Premnitz synthetic fibre works is accompanied by a poem by Volker Braun and was meant to follow the strategy of later DEFA films to use sympathetic comrades to promote new ways of thinking ...

Der Stoff zum Leben

Documentary Film
GDR
1989
23 minutes

Credits DOK Leipzig Logo

DEFA-Studio für Dokumentarfilme, Gruppe Effekt
Thomas Kuschel
Peter Milinski
Heinz Baumert, Petra Barthel, Harald Apitz, Carsten Gebhardt, Andreas Walter, Dietmar Nickel, René Schmal
Volker Braun
This portrait of a 26-year-old brigade leader at the Premnitz synthetic fibre works is accompanied by a poem by Volker Braun and was meant to follow the strategy of later DEFA films to use sympathetic comrades to promote new ways of thinking. Precisely 30 years after the launch of the GDR chemistry programme, however, it shows dirt and noise rather than optimism and faith in progress. Broken bones and ruined lungs are mentioned, as well as the “damned chemicals”, lack of housing and playgrounds. The conclusion: “If we go on like this, we won’t get far.” This was to come true not long after the end of shooting. A view of the twilight days of the GDR.

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
DEFA Matinee 2015
Die Welt horcht auf Max Jaap

A propaganda film by Max Jaap and Karl-Eduard von Schnitzler (“Defamation Ede”) that evokes the conquest of earth, nature, the atom and space by man – socialist man, of course.

Die Welt horcht auf

Documentary Film
GDR
1957
19 minutes
subtitles: 
No

Credits DOK Leipzig Logo

DEFA-Studio für Wochenschau und Dokumentarfilme
Max Jaap
Rolf Kuhl
Max Jaap, Herbert Kern, Karl-Eduard von Schnitzler
A propaganda film by Max Jaap and Karl-Eduard von Schnitzler (“Defamation Ede”) that evokes the conquest of earth, nature, the atom and space by man – socialist man, of course. While Western Europe and America despair over collapsing test rockets (“Why can’t we do this?”), the socialist engineers master the most complicated technologies – up to a living room sized electronic brain that thinks for them …

---Grit Lemke

Feinstrumpfhose Tanett Micromesh

Documentary Film
GDR
1965
1 minute
subtitles: 
No
DEFA Matinee 2017
Freundschaft und Frieden Karl Gass, Bruno Kleberg

In October 1951 Wilhelm Pieck travelled to Czechoslovakia. This short documentary is a kind of public relations account of the journey.

Freundschaft und Frieden

Documentary Film
GDR
1951
11 minutes
subtitles: 
No

Credits DOK Leipzig Logo

DEFA-Studio für Wochenschau und Dokumentarfilme
Karl Gass, Bruno Kleberg
Heinz Peer Czygan, Erich Nitzschmann
Traute Wischnewski
In October 1951 a government delegation of the still young GDR, headed by its first and only President, Wilhelm Pieck, travelled to Czechoslovakia. The short documentary “Friendship and Peace”, directed by Karl Gass and Bruno Kleberg, another pioneer of DEFA documentary film, is a kind of public relations account of this journey. The film is Karl Gass’s second work as a director after he had co-operated with Andrew Thorndike on “The Ascending Path”.

Fabian Tietke
DEFA Matinee 2021
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Im Durchgang – Protokoll für das Gedächtnis Kurt Tetzlaff
Between March 1989 and March 1990, Kurt Tetzlaff follows the critical Potsdam high school graduate and pastor’s son Alexander Schulz through a time of personal and political upheaval.
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In Transit: Report for Posterity

Im Durchgang – Protokoll für das Gedächtnis
Kurt Tetzlaff
DEFA Matinee 2021
Documentary Film
GDR
1990
90 minutes
German
subtitles: 
None

Credits DOK Leipzig Logo

Kurt Tetzlaff
DEFA-Studio für Dokumentarfilme
Kurt Tetzlaff
Monika Schäfer
Hans-Dieter Rutsch
Werner Bergmann
Jürgen Voigt
Achim Sommer
Rainer Pape
Lutz Laschet
Ernst-Dieter Falkenthal
Hartmut Haase

“Whoever has discovered a truth must also bear witness to it and make it known,” says the critical Potsdam high school graduate and pastor’s son Alexander Schulz at the start of the film and adds: “You must also endure the personal disadvantages.” Between March 1989 and March 1990, Kurt Tetzlaff follows the intelligent boy through a time of upheaval. At their graduation, Alexander and his class perform the play “Dictatorship of Conscience” by Mikhail Shatrov. He takes part in the demonstrations in autumn 1989 and refuses to serve in the army. Sequences from the GDR news demonstrate how far removed from the citizens the state leadership had become.

Philip Zengel
#
Redistribution and Having a Say
DEFA Matinee 2021
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Im Übergang – Protokoll einer Hoffnung Kurt Tetzlaff
A reencounter with Alexander, Tetzlaff’s protagonist of “In Transit”. The mood of departure of the autumn of 1989 gives way to disappointment and resignation only a short time later.
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In Transition: Report on a Hope

Im Übergang – Protokoll einer Hoffnung
Kurt Tetzlaff
DEFA Matinee 2021
Documentary Film
Germany
1991
82 minutes
German
subtitles: 
None

Credits DOK Leipzig Logo

Kurt Tetzlaff
DEFA-Studio für Dokumentarfilme
Kurt Tetzlaff
Eckard Mieder
Ingo Bahr
Jürgen Partzsch
Claus Mühle
Karl Faber
Hans Borrmann
Andreas Bergmann
Monika Schäfer
Dietmar Falkenthal
Hartmut Haase
Lutz Laschet
Rainer Pape

Once again Kurt Tetzlaff portrays Alexander, who in 1990 works as a nurse and is active in the “Action Reconciliation”. The sense of departure of the autumn of 1989 slowly gives way to disappointments about the outcome of the People’s Chamber elections in 1990, the currency reform and the Unification Treaty. The political and social changes took place at a rapid pace that many found hard to follow. The sense of community that carried people through 1989 is fading. “Now it’s every man for himself”, Alexander states. He has no use for capitalism: “I feel just as lied to and cheated as before.” Resignation spreads.

Philip Zengel
#
Redistribution and Having a Say
DEFA Matinee 2018
Imbiß Thomas Heise

In 1954, the “Automat Imbiss” opened on Alexanderplatz in East Berlin. Featuring slots from which you picked the dishes after inserting coins, it conformed to the notions of modernity and future of the time.

Imbiß

Documentary Film
GDR
1978
5 minutes
subtitles: 
_without dialogue / subtitles

Credits DOK Leipzig Logo

Hochschule für Film und Fernsehen (HFF), Potsdam-Babelsberg
Thomas Heise
Dagmar Mundt
In 1954, the “Automat Imbiss” opened on Alexanderplatz in East Berlin. Featuring slots from which you picked the dishes after inserting coins, it conformed to the notions of modernity and future of the time. Twenty years later, when Thomas Heise shoots his film, the Imbiss has long since lost its model character. Heise documents the daily routine in a matter-of-fact style: preparing mince meat, drawing drinks, collecting dirty dishes. Women from the East Berlin lower classes work here, endlessly repeating the same tasks and having cigarette and beer breaks.

Ilka Brombach

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