Winter Adé

(Winter adé)

GDR, 1988, 112 min, b&w
In German; English subtitles
Music (Score)
Production Company


Shortly before GDR’s collapse, Helke Misselwitz traveled by train from one end of the country to the other interviewing East German women of different ages and backgrounds. In this documentary masterpiece, women reveal their personal and professional frustrations, hopes and aspirations—and, in doing so, paint a portrait of a changing society. The landscape and architecture of East Germany, filmed in B&W on 35mm by Thomas Plenert, form the background to the stories.


This groundbreaking documentary caused a sensation when it was premiered at the 1988 Leipzig International Documentary Film Festival. It undermined the official image of women in the GDR and challenged the East German claim to have achieved gender equality. At the same time, postulating a new independence, women talked about their lives more openly than had ever been filmed before. Ironically, the director was in the US touring with the film on the night when the Berlin Wall fell ... exactly one year after its premiere.


2018 Images of the Future: The Cinema of East Germany, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
1988 Silver Dove, Leipzig Documentary and Short Film Festival

Press comments

"I don’t know a more intelligent, moving documentary about how women’s lives are shaped by patriarchy." 
– Amy TaubinVillage Voice


Special features:
  • New digitally restored version and English subtitles
  • Turn subtitles on/off
  • Biographies & Filmographies
  • “After Winter Comes Spring – Presaging the Wende,” by film historian Claus Löser
  • “Narrating Women’s History in Winter Adé,” by Jennifer Creech, Univ. of Rochester
  • “My November 9th, 1989,” by Helke Misselwitz
  • Original trailer

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