© DEFA Film Library at UMass Amherst
The political backdrop for (East) German film production in the 1950s was marked by the founding of the two German states, the beginning of the Cold War, accompanied by intense fear of atomic war, the peaking of the artistic doctrine of Socialist Realism and the end of Stalinism. The DEFA Studio prioritized films to help establish the legitimacy of the East German state (Castles and Cottages) and its relationship to the West (A Berlin Romance, The Story of a Young Couple, Berlin–Schönhauser Corner). The need for entertainment films started becoming accepted, for example resulting in major fairy-tale productions (The Story of Little Mook; The Singing, Ringing Tree). While the 1950s witnessed the first banned films (The Axe of Wandsbek, Sun Seekers), other films that addressed antifascism continued to be a produced (Council of the Gods), as were the first co-productions and internationally awarded titles (Stars).