Film still for "Lotte in Weimar"

Staged Reality

DEFA feature films as a source of contemporary historical interpretation

German Title: Inszenierte Realität. DEFA-Spielfilme als Quelle zeitgeschichtlicher Deutung

Klaus-Dieter Felsmann
208 Pages, 35 Images
Paperback, 14,8 x 21 cm
20,00 Euro (plus shipping)
ISBN: 978-3-86505-417-3
Obtainable at: Bertz+Fischer Verlag

The Book

The DEFA Feature Film Studios has produced numerous contemporary films with the aim of presenting current events and social developments as condensed contemporary testimonies. Today, these films are an important source for the interpretation of GDR history and have a special place in the interpretative discourse of their time of origin.
This book concentrates on feature film production from 1971 to 1991. After a clear caesura in German post-war history, the two-state nature of the GDR seemed finally manifested from 1970 onwards. On the other hand, within the GDR, the contradiction between its founding utopias and the real social conditions increasingly deepened.

The attitude with which DEFA worked on the credible and realistic creation of film images is shown in the conversations and comments of the set designers Dieter Adam, Harry Leupold, Paul Lehmann and Susanne Hopf, the costume designers Barbara Braumann and Christiane Dorst, the cameraman and director Jürgen Brauer and the dramaturg and author Gabriele Herzog.


  • DVD with the DEFA feature film A STRANGE LOVE (1984) by Lothar Warneke.


Film still for "Eine sonderbare Liebe"

(Dir.: Lothar Warneke, 1984) Photography: Michael Jüttersonke

Film still for "Eine sonderbare Liebe"

(Dir.: Lothar Warneke, 1984) Photography: Michael Jüttersonke

The Author

Klaus-Dieter Felsmann - born 1951 in Berlin, studied German language and literature and history. Film journalist (including "tv-diskurs" , "Filmdienst" and numerous book contributions) and author of the volumes "Deutsche Kinderfilme aus Babelsberg" (together with Bernd Sahling) and "Klang der Zeiten. Music in DEFA Feature Films - An Approach". He was head of the "Buckower Mediengespräche" and editor of the associated publication series. In 2019 the publication "DEFA-Film shot in Thuringia" was published in cooperation with the Thuringian State Agency for Civic Education.

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