Movie: The Dove on the Roof

Movie: The Dove on the Roof

Daily life in the German Democratic Republic

Dove on the roof
Director: Iris Gosner
1973, 82 minutes, English subtitles

On a construction site in the south of the German Democratic Republic where hundreds of apartments are being built in modern prefabricated buildings, young and confident construction manager Linda Heinrich (Heidemar Wenzel) meets two men: nonconformist student Daniel (Andreas) Grebe, who works in construction during… His leave was given to Brigadier General Hans Bue, who had built new houses in many places in the GDR but had lost his home. Linda loves her work and her independence, but she is in danger of losing her personal happiness.

When Iris Gosner, one of the few female directors in the GDR, made the initial version of her directorial debut, she was accused of presenting a distorted picture of the reality of the GDR. In particular, the portrayal of the experienced worker as a tragic figure met with strong resistance. He accused the director of “spitting in the face of the working class.”

The film was banned and the film copy was lost. Only in 2010 was the film, originally shot in color, released in cinemas as a reconstructed black-and-white version. Critics praised the film as an example of the new ambiguity of the German Democratic Republic. The film asks questions about the meaning of work, love, and happiness in East Germany in the 1970s. Iris Gosner repeatedly addressed the role of women in her films and questioned the official and true image of gender in GDR society.

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Daily life in the German Democratic Republic
According to its self-definition, the German Democratic Republic was “the first workers' and agricultural state on German soil.” The “worker” played a central role in the ideological representation of socialism in the communist countries of the time. Representation of the world of work was very important in state-controlled and supported artistic production in East Germany. Consequently, films that reflect reality in the GDR and describe daily life and the working world are closely monitored by officials.

It was not easy to paint a true picture of reality, but the filmmakers still wanted to depict life in the GDR, not as a criticism but as a way to point out the weaknesses of the socialist dream and suggest improvements. However, these films were often censored or even banned.


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