This collaboration between MoMA’s Department of Film and Media, the Goethe-Institut New York, and the DEFA Film Library, University of Massachusetts, Amherst, presents the most comprehensive retrospective of East German cinema ever screened in the United States. It brings together scholars of the DEFA period (1946–92), as well as directors and actors working at the time, to present the films and reflect on the political complexities of artistic production in the state-owned studios. DEFA produced over 750 films, many of them at the famous Studio Babelsberg, and in recent international critics’ surveys more than a dozen have been voted among the 100 best German films ever. Still, these and other original documentaries or fictional works from the German Democratic Republic (GDR) are largely unknown to audiences both in and outside of Germany. Rebels with a Cause presents a selection of significant works crafted by inventive filmmakers who tested the limits of censorship, and whose political engagement and depth add to the creative merit of film history. All films are new 35mm prints; all films are in German, with new or improved English subtitles.
Organized by Jytte Jensen, Curator, Department of Film and Media, and Juliane Wanckel, Program Manager, Goethe-Institut New York, with Hiltrud Schulz, DEFA Film Library, University of Massachusetts, Amherst.