Back In The GDR: East German Film Season

In Partnership with University of Chester Department of Languages and Culture.
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  • Cinema

What's happening in Back In The GDR: East German Film Season?

When one thinks of East Germany, images of barbed wire and the Berlin Wall spring to mind, as well as stories of the state’s political police – the dreaded Stasi. Yet there was a lively (albeit state-controlled) cultural scene in East Germany. Though artists, authors, and film makers were supposed to promote the Party line, they also aimed to entertain and, in some cases, test the limits of what the regime was prepared to tolerate.

This series of films made in East Germany by the state’s DEFA film studios offers the chance to look behind the Wall and see what citizens were able to watch in the cinemas of East Berlin, Dresden and Leipzig. Espionage film ‘For Eyes Only‘ represents the East German response to James Bond, while ‘The Legend of Paul and Paula‘ recounts a tale of love in East Berlin. ‘The Rabbit is Me‘, meanwhile, contains the kind of criticism of life in East Germany that the state was not prepared to allow; it was banned soon after its release in 1965.

The series finishes with ‘The Lives of Others‘. This story of the destructive operations and methods of the Stasi was a major hit upon its release in 2006. The screening of ‘The Lives of Others‘ will be followed by an interview and Q&A session with Antje K. Antje was born in East Germany in the early 1960s and will talk about her life there, her run-ins with the authorities, and her eventual emigration in the late 1980s. Dr Richard Millington, Senior Lecturer in German at the University Of Chester will conduct the interview with Antje, and will also give short introductions to each film screening.

This season has been co-curated by Dr Richard Millington, University of Chester, who will introduce each film.

Activities Tanks on the Streets: The Uprising of 17 June 1953 in East Germany
Book Pod

An exhibition commemorating the 70th anniversary of the first uprising in the Eastern Bloc curated by Dr Richard Millington and Steph Coathupe. The exhibition tells the story of the uprising and presents work inspired by the events of 17 June 1953.

Cinema For Eyes Only – Top Secret (Streng Geheim) (15+)

1 hr 43 | After the cover of several US spies is blown, double agent Hansen’s boss suspects a leak in his own ranks. This cold-war spy thriller is the East German version of Bond

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Cinema The Rabbit Is Me (Das Kaninchen Bin Ich) (15+)

1 hr 50 | Maria falls in love with a much older man, before learning he was the judge who sentenced her brother to three years in prison

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Cinema The Legend of Paul and Paula (Die Legende Von Paul Und Paula) (15+)

1 hr 46 | When Paula and Paul meet in a bar, they fall in love. Yet, Paul, who can never make up his mind, almost loses Paula, who blames herself when her child dies

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Cinema The Lives of Others (Das Leben der Anderen) (15)

2 hrs 3 | A well-known playwright, Dreyman, is put under Stasi surveillance, only for the officer to start to feel sympathy as he listens in on Dreyman and his girlfriend’s life

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Storyhouse is the home of the best independent cinema in Cheshire! Your independent boutique city-centre cinema brings a hand-picked range of film to the heart of Chester’s former Odeon.