© DEFA Film Library at UMass Amherst
Censorship operated at various levels of the filmmaking process at the DEFA Studios. The role of the dramaturge was to help filmmakers develop scripts and films; at times this also involved helping them negotiate the demands of the administration and approval boards. In most cases, such behind-the-scenes work was successful. When it was not, films were either censored (see Banned Films above), or they were granted a “limited release,” with very few film prints and little advertising. Authorities objected to given films for many reasons, including for: their depiction of certain characters (The Axe of Wandsbek, The Bicycle); their avant-garde style (Farewell, The Land beyond the Rainbow); addressing taboo topics (Sun Seekers, The Flight, Jadup and Boel, The Tango Player); or presenting an unrealistic (and ostensibly unflattering) picture of political and social life in the GDR (The Dove on the Roof).