In 1966 change was in the air all around the world. In East and West Germany a new generation of filmmakers started breaking with doctrines to counter both commercialism in the West, and the communist party line in the East by adopting a more personal approach to cinema with a focus on social reality and political realism.
Western fimmakers began to attract international attention at film festivals in Berlin, Venice or Cannes under the trademark of the so-called “Young German Film”. Peter Schamoni (No Shooting Time for Foxes), Volker Schlondorff (Young Törless), Alexander Kluge (Yesterday Girl) or Rainer Werner Fassbinder (The City Tramp) were about to become famous, each taking their personal approacht to social criticism in their films.
In East Germany, the state film studio DEFA had "relaxed" for some time, and allowed the making and release of several daringly frank films: Jürgen Böttcher (Born in ’45), Herrmann Zschoche (Carla) and - fost famous - Frank Beyer (Trace of Stones), had the chance to create a number of works that today have gained an important status in German film history - despite the fact that Eastern films were quickly banned shortly after their release and did not resurface until the late 1980s, when East German politics became more open towards the West.
As representatives of a first post-war generation, both Western and Eastern artists and directors rejected the conformist values of their parents. The cineastic ouevre of that times shows more or less direct forms of social criticism and represents topics dealing with WW2 and German post-war society, generation conflicts or even coming-of-age stories. It seems quite noteworthy that the fimmakers of both countries, although divided by a wall, approached significantly similar topics: women's roles in society, the effect of changing cultural backgrounds on the status of married couples, and the fate of outsiders and outcasts of society.
By taking a closer look at these films in a retrospective called Germany 66, MOMA and Deutsche Kinematek offer New York visitors some great insight into the cineastic and historic development of East and West Germany in the 1960s. Film scerenings are scheduled at The Roy and Niuta Titus Theaters from April 05, 2016–April 14, 2016. The following films will be on display:
- Subjektitude. 1967. West Germany. Directed by Helke Sanders. Short Film, 4 min.
- Es (It). 1966. West Germany. Written and directed by Ulrich Schamoni. 86 min.
- Spur der Steine (Trace of Stones). 1965–66. East Germany. Directed by Frank Beyer. 134 min.
- Jahrgang 45 (Born in ’45). 1966. East Germany. Directed by Jürgen Böttcher. 94 min.
- Kopfstand, Madam! (Headstand, Madam!). 1966– 67. West Germany. Directed by Christian Rischert. 82 min.
- Berlin um die Ecke (Berlin around the Corner). 1965–66. East Germany. Directed by Gerhard Klein. 86 min.
- Jeder ein Berliner Kindl ( Everybody a Berliner Kindl). 1966. West Germany. Directed by Harun Farocki. Short Film, 5 min.
- Der Brief (The Letter). 1966. West Germany. Written and directed by Vlado Kristl. 80 min.
- Karla (Carla). 1965–66. East Germany. Directed by Herrmann Zschoche. 134 min.
- Abschied von Gestern (Yesterday Girl). 1965–66. West Germany. Written and directed by Alexander Kluge. 88 min.
- Katz und Maus (Cat and Mouse). 1966–67. West Germany. Directed by Hansjürgen Pohland. 88 min.
- Mahlzeiten (Table for Love). 1966–67. West Germany. Written and directed by Edgar Reitz. 95 min.
- Die beispiellose Verteidigung der Festung Deutschkreutz (The Unprecedented Defense of the Fortress Deutschkreuz). 1966. West Germany. Written and directed by Werner Herzog. Short Film, 15 min.
- Der junge Törless (Young Törless). 1965–66. West Germany/France. Directed by Volker Schlöndorff. 88 min.
- Der Stadtstreicher (The City Tramp). 1966. West Germany. Written and directed by Rainer Werner Fassbinder. Short Film, 10 min.
- Schonzeit für Füchse (No Shooting Time for Foxes). 1965–66. Directed by Peter Schamoni. 92 min.