Andreas Dresen is a leading European filmmaker whose œuvre now spans three decades and includes some of the most acclaimed German films of recent times, such as Halbe Treppe (Grill Point, 2002), Sommer vorm Balkon (Summer in Berlin, 2005) and Halt auf freier Strecke (Stopped on Track, 2011). The essays collected in this volume by leading scholars from the USA, UK and Ireland place him in the tradition of auteur cinema while emphasising his roots in the pre-1990 film industry of DEFA in the GDR. Dresen works with an established team of performers, technicians and scriptwriters, uses improvisation and non-professional actors, and makes music and song an integral component of many of his films. He is a scholar-filmmaker who pushes at the boundaries of his chosen modes and genres (documentary, neo-realism, films about films or literary adaptation); he is socially committed, casting a Brechtian eye on interpersonal encounters in neoliberal environments; and he is always interested to tell universal stories from the localities he knows best, the working-class milieus of Germany’s east.
Selected Filmography, 1991–2017
As we refer throughout to the original German titles of Andreas Dresen’s films, English readers should check translations here. This filmography lists only those films discussed or cited by contributors to this volume. For a full list of films, from his first surviving short (Unser täglich Brot / Our daily bread, 1979, 7 min.) to Whisky mit Vodka (2009), see David Lode, Abenteuer Wirklichkeit: Die Filme von Andreas Dresen (Marburg: Schüren, 2009), esp. ‘Filmographie’, pp. 240–47. The names of major technicians, script- writers and actors are included to show the ensemble character of much of Dresen’s work. The major films are readily available in subtitled format on DVD. At the time of writing Timm Thaler has not yet been released. The first five short films are included on the Stilles Land / Silent Country DVD. Was jeder muss … / What every man must do … (1988, 20 min.), documen- tary about military service. Collaborators: Andreas Höfer, Rita Reinhardt, Laila Stieler. Nachts schlafen die Ratten / At Night the Rats Go to Sleep (1988, 10 min.), adapted from Wolfgang Borchert’s short story. Collaborators: Andreas Höfer, Rita Reinhardt, Laila Stieler. Jenseits von Klein Wanzleben / Far from Klein Wanzleben (1989, 41 min.), documentary about GDR development workers in Zimbabwe. Collaborators: Andreas Höfer. Zug in die Ferne / Train into the Distance (1989/90, 20 min.), an ‘exercise’ about waiting and expectation set at a GDR railway station through which trains pass without stopping en route to the West....
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