Autumn 2009 marked the 20th anniversary of the peaceful revolution and the fall of the Berlin Wall. To commemorate this historic event, the Federal Cultural Foundation had initiated the film series "After Winter Comes Spring - Films Presaging the Fall of the Wall" together with the Deutsche Kinemathek.
In fifteen feature-length programmes, "After Winter Comes Spring" presents German and East European films made during the last decade of the Cold War. Each film conveys the sense of far-reaching changes looming ahead. Some were produced by the official studios in Bulgaria, Poland, Romania, Hungary, East Germany, the Soviet Union and Czechoslovakia. Others were made by filmmakers on the fringe or in the artistic underground. The curator of the series, Claus Löser, has chosen a wide selection of feature, documentary, animation, short and experimental films, produced by well-known names from film history - e.g., Krzysztof Kieslowski and Jan Švankmajer - and works by lesser known filmmakers, as well. In addition to expressing the hope for greater political, economic and, above all, artistic freedom, these films test the limits of cinema in terms of form and content, and boldly articulate the need for change.
Premiere at the Berlinale 2009
The film series was presented for the first time at the 59th International Film Festival Berlin in February 2009. Several films have never been shown in Germany before, such as Piotr Szulkin's originally-banned, fatalistic science-fiction parable about daily life in dictatorships, titled "Wojna swiatów - nastêpne stulecie" (The War of the Worlds - Next Century, Poland 1981/83) or András Jeles's surrealistic portrayal of the customs and morals in Budapest "A kis Valentinó" (Little Valentino, Hungary 1979). With the story about a young woman's struggle with drug abuse and psychiatric treatment, Petar Popzlatev's "As, Grafinjata" (The Countess, Bulgaria 1989) sheds light on a marginalized segment of society under socialism.
Audiences will have the chance to rediscover several important films from this period, including Helke Misselwitz's award-winning DEFA documentary "Winter adé" (After Winter Comes Spring, East Germany 1988), Michael Klier's farewell to the 'Golden West' "Überall ist es besser, wo wir nicht sind" (The Grass Is Greener Everywhere Else, West Germany 1988) and the Soviet cult film, Raschid Nugmanov's wild mix of film genres "Igla" (The Needle, USSR 1988). One of the most renowned filmmakers in the series is Krzysztof Kieslowski. The programme includes his disturbing cinematic treatment of the fifth commandment, titled "Krótki film o zabijaniu" (A Short Film about Killing, Poland 1987), as well as Gábor Bódy's last film "Kutya éji dala" (The Dog's Night Song, Hungary 1983) - a post-modern vivisection of Hungarian society. Vera Chytilová's avant-garde film "Panelstory aneb Jak se rodí sídlište" (Prefab Story, Czechoslovakia 1979/81), on the other hand, humorously depicts the construction of a prefabricated housing development and its residents.
Three additional programmes feature a diverse range of short, animation and experimental films (14 in all), which portray the artistic and political possibilities of film under totalitarian conditions.
"After Winter Comes Spring" - Film series distributed by the Deutsche Kinemathek
To ensure that this extraordinary, visionary series will be preserved and available for public viewing in the future, new subtitled copies of the films were made and distributed through the Deutsche Kinemathek. Following its premiere at the Berlinale in 2009, the series went on tour to art-house cinemas and other venues throughout Germany. Vision Kino presented four films from the programme as part of the School Cinema Weeks 2009.
Schedule and venues
7 Feb. 2009 Premiere of the film series at the 59th International Film Festival Berlin
The film series was shown at the CinemaxX 8 (Potsdamer Platz) and Zeughauskino (Unter den Linden, Berlin) during the 59th Berlinale and was accompanied by a special event and audience discussions with the filmmakers.
Museum für Film und Fernsehen
Potsdamer Straße 2