© DEFA Film Library at UMass Amherst
These films prominently feature musical performances, including opera adaptations and musicals. They are significant, to a large extent, because there are not many. Considering the prominence of opera in the GDR’s cultural production, it is surprising that there were not more opera films, although to be sure, the length of most operas substantially outpaces the constraints of film. There are also not many musicals, as the genre was worrisomely close to flashy Hollywood films; those that were made, however, represent some of the most popular DEFA films. In addition, this theme also encompasses biographical pictures about composers and musicians, films that document important performances, and a selection of works with critically acclaimed soundtracks.