Hollywood behind the Wall: The Cinema of East Germany

Research output: Book/ReportBook


This pioneering study is the first representative history of East German film culture from 1946 to the present day. The book offers close readings and insightful contextual analyses both of DEFA's celebrated classics and the most acclaimed feature films by East German directors made after German unification.
In this comparative study Daniela Berghahn is able to demonstrate that East German cinema occupies an ambivalent position between German national cinema on the one hand and East European and Soviet cinema on the other. On an imaginary map of national cinemas, German cinema is at the epicentre of the ideological divide between communism and capitalism. The cinema of the divided Germany, therefore, emerges as a microcosm that throws the fault lines of Cold War tensions and ideological contests into stark relief.
Hollywood behind the Wall addresses issues that have proved central to critical debates on national cinema, but that take a rather specific inflection in the context of Germany's split screen. It examines the signifying practices and narrative strategies employed by East and West German feature films in the construction of nation-building myths and competing national identities.
Original languageEnglish
Place of PublicationManchester
PublisherManchester University Press
Number of pages294
ISBN (Print)0-7190-6172-5
Publication statusPublished - 2005


  • DEFA, East German cinema, GDR, East German feature films, post-Wall German cinema, film censorship, national cinema

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