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6 DEFA Studios Films in February

Network have announced the UK Region 2 DVD release of 6 films from East Germany’s DEFA Studios. Arriving on 12th February 2007 priced at £14.99 each are:

Berlin Schoenhauser Corner

Regarded as one of the greatest films to come out of East Germany’s government-run DEFA studios, BERLIN SCHOENHAUSER CORNER (PG) courted controversy and was eyed suspiciously by the controlling party on its original 1957 release.

Directed by Gerhard Klein (The Gleiwitz Case, Geschichte von armen Hassan) and starring Ekkehard Schall (Geschichte von armen Hassan, I Sequestrati di Altona) and Ilse Page (Die Blechtrommel, Der Hund von Blackwood) BERLIN SCHOENHAUSER CORNER is the story of a group of teenagers growing up in pre-wall Berlin. Sharing a love of rock ’n’ roll and banned Western goods, they are rebellious and wild and stand against everything that their parents faught for. Mirroring the American youth movement of the 1950s, the film was highly-criticised by the government for its portrayal and perceived influence on the East German youth. Nevertheless, BERLIN SCHOENHAUSER CORNER was a huge commercial hit, with over 1.5 million watching the film in the first three months of its theatrical release.

Carbide and Sorrel
Erwin Geschonneck (Nacht unter Wolfen, Sonnensucher) stars as Kalle in comedy CARBIDE AND SORREL .

It is the summer of 1945, and the Dresden cigarette factory in which Kalle used to work has been destroyed by the war. In order for the rebuilding to start carbide is needed for the soldering – and with a supply found in Wittenburg, he sets off to track it down. The only problem is, how will he carry seven casks back without arousing the suspicions of Soviet and US forces without any transport or identification?

The Gleiwitz Case
Directed by Berliner Gerhard Klein (Alarm at the Circus, A Berlin Romance, Berlin Schoenhauser Corner), one of DEFA’s contract directors who had previously been imprisoned by the Nazis on two occasions in his youth, this early sixties classic reconstructs the circumstances surrounding Hitler’s invasion with incredible vision. Six native Poles of German extraction are summoned from an SS school to Gleiwitz – close to the Polish border – to be briefed on a top secret mission with consequences that will have an impact on the rest of the world. On 31st August 1939 the order is received from Heydrich in Berlin to put the plan into action – a concentration camp prisoner dressed in a Polish uniform is to be brought to the Gleiwitz radio station where he will be shot and produced as evidence of a Polish raid into German territory. The next day the German war machine rolls into action…

Singing Ringing Tree
To win the love of a beautiful but arrogant princess, the prince sets off on a quest to find the Singing Ringing Tree. He finds it in a magical garden which is ruled by an evil dwarf. The malevolent midget allows the prince to take the tree on one condition - the prince must win the princess’ love before sunset. If he fails, the prince will be transformed into a bear…and this comes to pass.

Will the prince manage to reverse the curse? If so, then how? Will he find everlasting love with the princess? And can the evil dwarf be stopped from fulfilling his sinister plans?

The Architects
THE ARCHITECTS is widely regarded as one of the seminal movies made at the legendary DEFA studios, and was awarded the Special Prize at the National Feature Film Festival (1990) by the German Democratic Republic.

Daniel Brenner (Kurt Nauman - Banale Tage, Einsteins Baby, Paule and Julia), an idealistic young architect living in East Berlin, is deeply frustrated by life under the communists but manages a tolerance of sorts. On receiving a top assignment to design a small city development on the outskirts of Berlin, he comes up with an innovative, almost spirited plan. But his optimistic design comes at a price - both personal and professional.

Made in 1990 and directed by Czech Peter Kahane (Ete und Ali, Vorspiel), THE ARCHITECTS was filmed literally as East Germany was falling apart. This sombre, finely-drawn portrait of life in East Germany is one of the first films to explore the upheavals associated with the reunification of Germany.

Coming Out
Premiering 9th November 1989 – the night the Berlin Wall was pulled down – COMING OUT was the first and only film produced by East Germany’s DEFA to deal with the subject of homosexuality.

Philip (Matthias Freihof – Not a Love Song, Zuruck auf Los) was strongly attracted to his best friend, but buried his feelings in order to live within the ‘norm’. Meeting a shy girl, Tanja (Dagmar Manzel – Goebbels und Gedulding, Nach Funf im Urwald), they soon find themselves sharing a flat. But a chance encounter with young Matthias (Dirk Kummer) in a concert ticket line stirs his passion as he embarks on a liberating journey of self-discovery.

Directed by Heiner Carow (Ikarus, Die Verfehlung) COMING OUT, which won a Silver Bear at the 1990 Berlin Film Festival.

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