Organized by the DEFA Film Library at UMass Amherst in collaboration with the DEFA Foundation in Berlin and the German Film Office in New York, an initiative of the Goethe Institut and German Films to bring the best of contemporary and repertory films from Germany to US audiences, in collaboration with local partners.

EVERYDAY POETRY: The Early Films of Helke Misselwitz

This first-ever retrospective of the early films of Helke Misselwitz gathers nine films made by the acclaimed documentary filmmaker in (East) Germany from 1983 to 1992.


Each in its own way, these films reflect Misselwitz's highly personal style, aesthetic and voice. At the time they were made, they also represented a challenge to mainstream (largely male) filmmaking at the DEFA Studios.


November 2021 Premieres

From November 12 to 16, Anthology Film Archives in New York will screen the first-ever US retrospective of the films of Helke Misselwitz, one of (East) Germany’s most important documentary directors, in an event co-presented by the German Film Office, the DEFA Foundation and the DEFA Film Library at UMass Amherst.


The program presents all nine films that Misselwitz made for the DEFA Studios, including Winter Adé, the groundbreaking 1988 portrayal of East German women that made her known worldwide, and her feature film debut Herzsprung (1992), a tragic romance set after the Wende and the last film with a DEFA logo. All films in the retrospective have been digitized and restored by the DEFA Foundation in Berlin, and most will be North American premieres. In addition, AFA will show two of Misselwitz’s more recent films: her second feature film, Little Angel (1996), and Helga Paris, Photographer (2019).


From November 19 to 26, the retrospective will screen in the “Retrospectivas” section of the 36th  Mar del Plata International Film Festival in Argentina, Latin America’s only A film festival. All nine films in the program, including two Argentinian-related short films—Tango (1985) and TangoDream (1985)—will be Argentinian premieres, with Spanish subtitles for seven films generously financed by the festival. After the festival, the retrospective will also be screened for audiences in Buenos Aires from November 30 to December 3. The Argentinian retrospective is co-presented by the festival, the Goethe-Institute in Buenos Aires and the DEFA Film Library.


Special thanks go to director Helke Misselwitz, Jed Rapfogel (Anthology Film Archives), Sara Stevenson (German Film Office), Inge Stache (Goethe-Institut Buenos Aires), the Mar del Plata International Film Festival, the DEFA Foundation, Eclair Logistics and the DEFA Film Library team that made these transcontinental premieres possible.


Q&A with director Helke Misselwitz and Reinhild Steingröver (Eastman School of Music), recorded on Nov.11, 2021, is avaialble here.


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