Anthology Film Archives


October 9 – October 9

Official relations between the United States and socialist East Germany (or the German Democratic Republic) were starkly asymmetrical: while the Soviet-allied GDR was culturally and economically of little interest to U.S. politics, the “first socialist German state” never ceased wooing the capitalist Goliath as its favorite enemy. U.S. pop culture seeped into everyday life in East Germany as much as everywhere else, yet establishing more formal, reciprocal economic relations with the USA remained an unfulfilled ambition of GDR foreign politics. Parallel to or underneath this antagonistic status quo, however, collaborative relations did exist on an individual and institutional level, and they were often fueled by common causes such as opposition to the USA’s militarist agenda in the Global South.

Centering on the friendly and collaborative exchange between GDR state-employed documentarist Peter Ulbrich and U.S. renegade Emile de Antonio, this special program brings into focus the amalgamating effect which the Vietnam War had across Cold War borders. Curated by Berlin-based researcher Tobias Hering as part of his ongoing research on informal U.S.-GDR film relations, the program was kindly supported by the Deutsches Haus at NYU, where on October 12 Hering will be talking about his research in conversation with Mariana Ivanova, Academic Director of the DEFA Film Library at the University of Massachusetts, Amherst, and author of “Cinema of Collaboration: DEFA Coproductions and International Exchange in Cold War Europe”.

The screening will be presented in person by Tobias Hering.

This program is co-presented by the Deutsches Haus at NYU, the DEFA Film Library at the University of Massachusetts Amherst, and the DEFA Foundation in Berlin. Special thanks to Juliana Camfield & Sarah Girner (Deutsches Haus at NYU); Matthew Jones (University of North Carolina School of the Arts); Ron Mann (Films We Like); Hiltrud Schulz (DEFA Film Library); Mirko Wiermann (Deutsche Kinemathek); and Justus Wörmann (Bundesarchiv).

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