W. Staudte bei Dreharbeiten
W. Staudte bei Dreharbeiten

» Digital writings

60 Years of DEFA

May - November 2006
Logo: 60 Jahre DEFA
Potsdam Film Museum in cooperation with the DEFA Foundation, supported by the Ministry of Economy of the Federal State of Brandenburg

46 years of DEFA filmmaking shaped the Babelsberg studios. 700 feature films and 500 TV productions reflect film and contemporary history. Despite frequent television reruns on mdr and rbb, this chapter of studio history has still not been brought entirely out of the dark yet.
With various projects, Potsdam Film Museum aims at making the public aware of this least-known and yet so far longest period of Babelsberg’s film history. In this context, DEFA’s 60th anniversary is definitely an appropriate occasion not only to celebrate but also to remember.
The films will be shown on the screen, i.e. in the format that they were originally made for. Films like "Sonnenallee", "Good bye Lenin" and "Der rote Kakadu" will intensify the newly arisen interest in GDR contemporary and film history.

From amateur, documentary and feature film director Richard Groschopp over Wolfgang Staudte, one of the most formative and, at the same time, most exceptional filmmakers of GDR film and television history, and the retrospective of East-German film curatored by MOMA to the very recent film evening with the Kling family: We offer filmic events made to give a deep or, respectively, first view of East-German film and contemporary history for specialists, enthusiasts and those who are curious.
Our programme will feature both the well-familiar and things to be discovered:
DEFA - The Story of the Children of Golzow: foyer exhibition and film series
Richard Groschopp - A Film Craftsman (Working Title): foyer exhibition and film series
The film family Kling visits Potsdam Film Museum: film evening and talk
Thinking about Wolfgang Staudte (1906 - 1984): film series and round table

20 years ago, Potsdam Film Museum was founded to function as a trustee of the studio’s company and production history. Since then, our exhibitions, publications, film series and events with guests have been documenting our intensive, supra-regionally effective, lively efforts to preserve this history.

The Story of the Children of Golzow
The world’s oldest long-term documentary - a DEFA project
Foyer exhibition and film series
May - August 2006

In 1961, Winfried Junge took up the idea and vision of documentary filmmaker Karl Gass to make a film about a school class and to accompany the children’s life with the camera. No one would have thought that the story of the children from a small village in the Oderbruch would, one day, become a work portraying GDR everyday life, the German reunification and the first steps into a new everyday life.
The exhibition focuses on the early films that emerged between 1961 and 1980 at the DEFA documentary film studios. Among other things, it shows how difficult it was to stick to the initial idea, yet also how more and more people emotionally shared the fate of the Golzow inhabitants. In 1981, "Life Stories. The History of Golzow’s Children in Individual Portraits" was awarded a "honorary" Golden Dove on the international Leipzig Week of Documentary Film. In this context, "honorary" referred to the fact that the festival’s rules of procedure weren’t made for 4-hour films. At a single blow, the Golzow people became world-famous. Awards at the Berlinale as well as invitations to London, Sweden, Turkey, etc. followed.
Looking at the photos, documents, posters, press clippings, awards and prizes and, last but not least, the films in our exhibition, you will soon be able to accompany Golzow’s children on the first part of their journey.

Richard Groschopp - A Film Craftsman (Working Title)
Retrospective accompanying the foyer exhibition on the occasion of Richard Groschopp’s 100th birthday and the 10th anniversary of his death
September - end of 2006

The amateur, documentary and feature film director Richard Groschopp belongs to the few 20th-century German directors who not only worked in different political system but also within different genres. Even with regard to his film professions, he was an all-rounder: cameraman and director, screenwriter, writer for professional journals, author and lecturer for directing studies. Dealing with Groschopp’s biography and works makes the wide scope of his filmic activities apparent. Still, the contradictions that belonged to this film enthusiast who also worked under socially and economically difficult circumstances appear as well: his unconditional dedication to "Neues Deutschland" and his conformation to National Socialism. This background alone makes it worth to re-examine his films; however, a retrospective will also allow us to understand that Groschopp’s life and work are less of an exception to the rule, but rather closely intertwined with 20th-century thinking and logic.

The film family Kling visits Potsdam Film Museum
Film evening and talk
Long Night of the Museums and Galeries, 30 September 2006

On 30 September, Potsdam’s museums, galeries and studios will be open until midnight. The "Kunst-Genuss-Touren" ("Enjoy-Art-Tours") with their promising cultural and culinary offers lead to Potsdam’s historical city centre to which Potsdam Film Museum belongs.
That night, we will introduce you to the film family Kling:
The first time the family members appeared together on the screen was in the DEFA film "Grüne Hochzeit" (1989). Since then, the faces of the siblings Anja and Gerit Kling have been inseparably connected with German film and television productions. Margarita Kling, the mother, runs an actor agency. Father Ulrich Kling started as head of production at the DEFA film company, held the office of the production manager for many years and, after the German reunification, became managing director of "DEFA Video". In 1993, Ulrich Kling changed to Studio Babelsberg GmbH and got in charge of the studio and workshop section.
Come to Potsdam Film Museum during the Long Night of the Museums and Galeries - and have a talk with the film family Kling! Subsequently, we will present a film with Anja an Gerit Kling (presumably "Irren ist sexy").
The house will be open until midnight. Food and drinks will be provided.

Thinking about Wolfgang Staudte (1906 - 1984)
Film series and round table
9 and 10 October 2006

Wolfgang Staudte would be celebrating his 100th birthday in October 2006. As one of the most exceptional personalities of German film and television history, his formative influence ranges from the 1920s to the present.
Staudte was closely connected to DEFA and the Babelsberg film studios. In these studios as well as in their close environment, "Die Mörder sind unter uns" (1946), "Rotation" (1948) and his best-known film "Der Untertan" emerged. A central topic of his filmic works was the examination of German history during the years of National Socialism, but also - and most notably - the handling of this historical period by post-war German society.
On two days, films by Staudte will be shown and commented on. In a round table, his works will be disscussed in depth and with regard to their links to the present.