Edited By Julian Preece and Nick Hodgin
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.
Exploring the East German Past and the DEFA Film Legacy in Die Polizistin (2000) (Rosemary Stott)
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Exploring the East German Past and the DEFA Film Legacy in Die Polizistin (2000)
Aus der Mitte der Gesellschaft Filmgeschichten zu suchen und mit Nähe und Liebe zu den Menschen zu erzählen
To search for film narratives in the heart of society and to tell stories with empathy and a love of humanity
— ANDREAS DRESEN1
Andreas Dresen belongs to the ‘allerletzte Generation’ or absolutely final generation of DEFA directors, having been an apprentice at the studios in 1985–86 and subsequently educated in the national film school of the GDR, the Hochschule für Film und Fernsehen (HFF) Konrad Wolf in Babelsberg, from which he graduated in 1992.2 In his choice of film subjects, he has remained true to these roots and has frequently defended the artistic value of the DEFA film. For instance, he was one of the 120 German filmmakers who, in an open letter, criticised Volker Schlöndorff for his dismissal of the DEFA legacy and responded with an eloquently expressed article ← 103 | 104 → in Die Zeit (‘The Wrong Eastern Cinema’, reproduced in this volume).3 Schlöndorff, one of the best-known exponents of the West German New Wave, also known as ‘The New German Cinema’, had spent five years as Managing Director of the studios from 1992 to 1997, yet he referred to DEFA films as being ‘furchtbar’ / ‘dreadful’. In 2014, in contrast, Dresen curated a DEFA retrospective...
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