Defa (German Cinema Series) : East German Cinema, 1946-1992

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Overview

Western scholars have not lost any of their fascination for East German culture. Cinema in particular continues to attract interest. This volume, the first one in English, traces the development of the main institution, the state-sponsored Deutsche Film Anstalt (DEFA), which was primarily responsible for film production in the former GDR from 1946, ceasing to exist in 1992. Although largely ignored outside the former GDR, the DEFA produced anumber of excellent films and scriptwriters that are examined here for the first time. This volume analyzes the representation of fascism and anti-fascism in the cinema of the 1940s and 1950s, the conflicts between the state and the film-makers of the 1960s, and the social-political criticism in the 1970s and early 1980s. Other key issues that arise from this comprehensive look at DEFA include its representation of women, the concept of "Heimat," the reception of the classical heritage, and the relation of DEFA cinema to other European film traditions.The comprehensive bibliography and a list of research sources on East German cinema make this volume an indispensable tool for students and scholars of the media.

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Editorial Reviews

Booknews
Traces the development of the state-sponsored company (DEFA), which was primarily responsible for film production in East Germany from 1946 to 1992. Most of the 16 essays were presented at a conference in Reading, England, at an unspecified date. Looking at specific films and scriptwriters, they analyze the representation of fascism and anti-fascism in the 1940s and 1950s, conflicts between the state and film makers in the 1960s, and social-political criticism of the 1970s and early 1980s. Paper edition (unseen), $25. Annotation c. Book News, Inc., Portland, OR (booknews.com)
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Product Details

Meet the Author

John Sandford

Sean Allan is senior Lecturer in German Studies at the University of Warwick.

John Sandford is Professor of German Studies at the University of Reading.

Biography

John Camp (better known to readers as thrillmeister John Sandford) began his career as a journalist -- first as a crime reporter for The Miami Herald, then as a general reporter, columnist, and features writer for the Saint Paul Pioneer Press & Dispatch. In 1986, he won the Pulitzer Prize for "Life on the Land: An American Farm Family," a five-part series examining the farm crisis in southwest Minnesota.

Camp's interests turned to fiction in the mid-1980s, and he took time off to write two novels which were ultimately accepted for publication: The Fool's Run, a techno-thriller featuring a complex con man known as Kidd, and Rules of Prey, a police procedural starring maverick Minneapolis detective Lucas Davenport. When both books were scheduled (by different publishers) to be released three months apart in 1989, Camp was persuaded to adopt a pseudonym for one. He chose his paternal grandmother's maiden name, "Sandford" for Rules of Prey, and the nom de plume has remained attached to all the books in the series.

Less Dick Tracy than Dirty Harry, hard-boiled, iconoclastic Lucas Davenport is a composite of the cops Camp met while working the crime beat as a reporter. Intelligent and street smart, Davenport is also manipulative and not above bending the rules to get results. And although he has mellowed over time (something of a skirt chaser in his youth, he is now married with children), he remains one of the edgiest and most popular protagonists in detective fiction. Fans keep returning to the Prey books for their intelligently hatched plots, high-octane pacing, and deft, fully human characterizations.

From time to time, Camp strays from his bestselling series for standalone thrillers (The Night Crew, Dead Watch), and in 2007 he introduced a new series hero, Virgil Flowers of the Minnesota Bureau of Criminal Apprehension, who debuted in Dark of the Moon. Although he is no longer a full-time journalist, Camp contributes occasional articles and book reviews to various publications. He is also a passionate archaeologist and has worked at a number of digs, mainly in Israel.

Good To Know

Don't confuse John Sandford with John Sanford -- it's one of Sandford's pet peeves. Sanford (without the "d") is a Christian philosophy writer.

The Sandford pseudonym has caused a few problems for Camp in the past. At an airport once, his ticket was reserved under Sandford, while all of his identification, of course, had the name Camp. Luckily, he had one of his novels with him, and thanks to the book jacket photo, he was able to convince airport security to let him on the plane.

The books in Camp's less successful Kidd series (The Fool's Run, The Empress File, The Devil's Code, and The Hanged Man's Song) have been re-released under the Sandford pseudonym.

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    1. Also Known As:
      John Roswell Camp
    2. Hometown:
      St. Paul, Minnesota
    1. Date of Birth:
      February 23, 1944
    2. Place of Birth:
      Cedar Rapids, Iowa
    1. Education:
      State University of Iowa, Iowa City: B.A., American History; M.A., Journalism
    2. Website:

Table of Contents

Abbreviations
List of Illustrations
Preface
1 DEFA: An Historical Overview 1
2 DEFA and the Traditions of International Cinema 22
3 'Letting the Genie out of the Bottle': DEFA Film-Makers and Film und Fernsehen 42
4 The Anti-Fascist Past in DEFA Films 58
5 Discussion with Kurt Maetzig 77
6 Rebels with a Cause: The Development of the 'Berlin-Filme' by Gerhard Klein and Wolfgang Kohlhaase 93
7 DEFA: A Personal View 117
8 Representations of Work in the Forbidden DEFA Films of 1965 131
9 Censorship and the Law: The Case of Das Kaninchen bin ich (I am the Rabbit) 146
10 Paths of Discovery: The Films of Konrad Wolf 164
11 From Models to Misfits: Women in DEFA Films of the 1970s and 1980s 183
12 The Concept of 'Heimat-GDR' in DEFA Feature Films 204
13 The Re-evaluation of Goethe and the Classical Tradition in the Films of Egon Gunther and Siegfried Kuhn 222
14 Idealism Takes on the Establishment: Social Criticism in Roland Graf's Film Adaptations of Markische Forschungen (Exploring the Brandenburg Marches) and Der Tangospieler (The Tango Player) 245
15 The Documentary Work of Jurgen Bottcher: A Retrospective 267
16 Documenting the Wende: The Films of Andreas Voigt 283
About the Contributors 302
App Research Sources for East German Cinema 305
Select Bibliography 309
Index 320
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