Film still for "Lotte in Weimar"

In the Engine Room of Cinematography

Reminiscences of DEFA Chief Dramaturge Rudolf Jürschik

German Title: Im Maschinenraum der Filmkunst. Erinnerungen des DEFA-Chefdramaturgen Rudolf Jürschik

Detlef Kannapin
300 Pages, 21 Images
Paperback, 14,8 x 21 cm
20,00 Euro (plus shipping)
ISBN: 978-3-86505-418-0
Obtainable at: Bertz+Fischer Verlag

The Book

In the Engine Room of Cinematography

(Detlef Kannapin, 2021)

Prof. Dr. Rudolf Jürschik (born 1935) held the position of chief dramaturge at the VEB DEFA Studio for Feature Films from May 1977 until the fall of the Berlin Wall in 1989. During this time, important DEFA films were made, such as SOLO SUNNY (1980) by Konrad Wolf, DER AUFENTHALT (1983) by Frank Beyer or EINER TRAGE DES ANDEREN LAST (1988) by Lothar Warneke. Other ambitious film projects, such as the great "Simplicissimus" project by Franz Fühmann and Heiner Carow, failed due to economic and political considerations. Jürschik reports on many events in film production and film politics of that time from an intimate knowledge of the processes, but also with the necessary critical distance that is indispensable for the historical classification of this phase of DEFA history.

Jürschik's career as a lecturer at the Babelsberg Film Academy and later at the SED Party College as well as his work as a producer for television series in the post-reunification period are also discussed. Many details of the technical and administrative aspects of film production are outlined in a vivid and comprehensible manner.

In his memoirs, Jürschik pays special attention to the genesis of the film FALLADA - LETZTES KAPITEL (1988) by Roland Gräf, the realization of which dragged on for years and says a lot about the dwindling sovereignty of socialism vis-à-vis social processes. Jürschik's passionate plea for this film is made clear in an extraordinary document from 1985, which is reprinted here for the first time.

Film still for "Einer trage des anderen Last"

Jörg Pose and Manfred Möck in EINER TRAGE DES ANDEREN LAST (Director: Lothar Warneke, 1987) Photographer: Norbert Kuhröber

Film still for "Fallada - Letztes Kapitel"

Jörg Gudzuhn and Jutta Wachowiak in FALLADA - LETZTES KAPITEL (Director: Roland Gräf, 1988) Photographer: Wolfgang Ebert

The Author

Detlef Kannapin studied history, politics, sociology and media in Berlin and Marburg. His two theses dealt with the Nazi past in German feature films from East and West. For more than two decades he has been regularly active as a film journalist, including for various yearbooks of the DEFA Foundation and with contributions on Rainer Simon and Günter Stahnke in the Foundation's publication series. Since 2011, he has organized and moderated the film series "3 D - German Democratic Documents" of the Peter Hacks Society Berlin. Since 2007, he has worked full-time as a research assistant at the German Bundestag.

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