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Cinema of Collaboration: DEFA Coproductions and International Exchange in Cold War Europe

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Volume 21

Film Europa

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Cinema of Collaboration

DEFA Coproductions and International Exchange in Cold War Europe

Mariana Ivanova

292 pages, 22 illus., bibliog., index

ISBN  978-1-78920-343-1 $135.00/£99.00 Hb Published (October 2019)

eISBN 978-1-78920-344-8 eBook

Hb View cartYour country: United States - Click here to remove geolocation   Buy the eBook! $34.95 Request a Review or Examination Copy (in Digital Format) Recommend to your Library Available in GOBI®


“Ivanova demonstrates [in this refreshing volume] that in the 20th century there was a common language of European film, a language that transcended ideology and the Cold War… Highly Recommended.” • Choice

Cinema of Collaboration marks a crucial moment in English-language scholarship on East German cinema. Mariana Ivanova’s study opens up a nuanced and multi-layered engagement with DEFA films beyond the cultural sphere.” • Sebastian Heiduschke, Oregon State University

“This is a very well-written and thoroughly researched study that offers interesting new insights into the transnational connections of producers and artists. In its transnational perspective, the book outlines new trajectories of cultural politics that will change how scholars think, write, and teach about DEFA.” • Maria Stehle, University of Tennessee


From their very inception, European cinemas undertook collaborative ventures in an attempt to cultivate a transnational “Film-Europe.” In the postwar era, it was DEFA, the state cinema of East Germany, that emerged as a key site for cooperative practices. Despite the significant challenges that the Cold War created for collaboration, DEFA sought international prestige through various initiatives. These ranged from film exchange in occupied Germany to partnerships with Western producers, and from coproductions with Eastern European studios to strategies for film co-authorship. Uniquely positioned between East and West, DEFA proved a crucial mediator among European cinemas during a period of profound political division.

Mariana Ivanova is Assistant Professor of German at Miami University, Ohio, with affiliations with the Film Studies Program and the Havighurst Center for Russian and Post-Soviet Studies. In addition to her scholarly publications, she is also the creator of several short documentaries about former DEFA filmmakers.

Subject: Film and Television Studies History: 20th Century to Present
Area: Germany


List of Illustrations


Chapter 1. The Legacy of ‘Film Europe’: DEFA’s Coproductions with France
Chapter 2. Film Exchange beyond the Bans: Erich Mehl’s Partnership with DEFA
Chapter 3. Competing with the West, Running with the East: Creating Utopia in DEFA Artistic Production Units
Chapter 4. Writing Together: DEFA’s Biopics in the Context of European Cinema

Epilogue: Heritage, Continuity, and Collaboration

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