Counter Images: GDR Underground Films 1983-1989
A selection of ten Super-8 films made between 1983 and 1989 by young East German artists, musicians, performers and writers, who produced their films outside official channels. Many of the directors in this collection – such as Helge Leiberg, Via Lewandowsky, and Cornelia Schleime – have now become leading figures in the international art world.
This collection includes the following titles:
- action situation (Leiberg, 1983)
- 7x7 Facts about the Present Life of the Poet Tohm die Roes (di Roes, 1983)
- Samuel (Klauß, 1984)
- Little Angel (Frydetzki, 1985)
- Necrology (Löser, 1985)
- September, September (Hahnemann, 1986)
- Draped in White (Schleime, 1987)
- Report - A Comment on a Comment (Lewandowsky, 1987)
- Hello, Berlin (Werner, 1987)
- Konrad! The Mother Said (Köppel-Welsh, 1989)
In a country where all art and access to art materials was subject to state control, the Super-8 film format provided underground artists with a new form of expression. This was especially important in the rigid political climate that followed the 1976 expatriation of singer-songwriter Wolf Biermann. As the bonus film The Subversive Camera makes clear, the Stasi paid close attention to such Super-8 films and to the underground artists’ scene.
The specific titles included in this collection were selected by film historian Claus Löser from a collection of almost 130 films archived at the Berlin-based ex. oriente. lux.
“It's amazing (and gratifying) to realize that such 'subversive' films were made in the GDR.”
— Amos Vogel, Film as a Subversive Art
“Films of great originality and aesthetic achievement. These films present an important alternative to studio-produced images and provide a unique glimpse of a different GDR reality.”
— Reinhild Steingröver, Eastman School of Music, University of Rochester
“Great material from the pre-Wende era. GDR underground cinema was created in the sub-scenes’ biotope, on the edge of painting and writing.”