Publication details

The Pragmatic Alliance of DEFA and Barrandov : Cultural Transfer, Popular Cinema and Czechoslovak-East German Co-productions, 1957–85



Year of publication 2018
Type Article in Periodical
Magazine / Source Historical Journal of Film, Radio and Television
MU Faculty or unit

Faculty of Arts

Keywords co-productions; transnational cinema; Barrandov; German Cinema; DEFA
Description This article examines the cooperation that took place between the East German DEFA and Czechoslovakia’s Barrandov film studios, in terms of their coproductions and the recruitment of Czechoslovak talent to work on nominally East German productions. By analysing these ventures from their inception in 1957 onwards, I consider the conditions supervising the transfer of professional skills between the studios, especially during periods of intensive exchange: the mid-1960s and the 1970s. I argue that DEFA utilized Barrandov-contracted talent to facilitate its production of commercially viable light entertainment. In the 1960s, ‘travelling filmmakers’ helped DEFA to launch a series of East German-produced musicals and Indianerfilme. In the 1970s, DEFA functionaries aimed to benefit from the creative input Czechoslovak scriptwriters, directors and producers brought to children’s films. I suggest the two periods in question were shaped by distinct sets of institutional, political and creative circumstances. The recruitment of individual Czechoslovak personnel in the earlier period enabled DEFA to train in-house talent. A decade later, purges enacted by the Czechoslovak Communist Party limited creative possibilities for this country’s film-makers, incentivizing a newfound desire to partner with a studio that Barrandov had previously deemed beneath it.
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