Berlinale: Retrospective

Retrospective 2016:
“Germany 1966 – Redefining Cinema”

The Retrospective of the 66th Berlin International Film Festival is dedicated to the year 1966, a turning point in German cinema dating back fifty years. An atmosphere of change prevails: in the West, auteur filmmakers challenge the contradictions of the economic miracle, in the East, young directors question everyday life under socialism. The New German Cinema manages to make an international breakthrough, whereas in East Germany, as a result of the 11th plenum of the Central Committee of the Socialist Unity Party (SED) in December 1965, almost half of all DEFA feature films intended for theatrical release in 1966, are banned. With that abrupt end to concurrent developments, opportunities for mutual appreciation were also lost. The Retrospective aims to counter that with its overview of films from both sides.

The Retrospective 2016 includes around 20 East and West German feature and documentary films from cinema and television. Additionally, more than 30 films of short and medium length - a typical format at the time - will feature in film programmes and as supporting films.

Four years after the authors of the Oberhausen Manifesto proclaimed “The old film is dead. We believe in the new one”, the New German Cinema for the first time receives critical acclaim at important film festivals: The Berlinale awards Peter Schamoni’s debut Schonzeit für Füchse (No Shooting Time for Foxes, West Germany 1966) with a Silver Bear, Volker Schlöndorff’s film Der junge Törless (Young Törless, West Germany / France 1966) receives the film critics prize in Cannes, while Alexander Kluge’s Abschied von Gestern (Yesterday Girl, West Germany 1966) wins the Silver Lion in Venice. Es (Ulrich Schamoni, West Germany 1966) won four golds and one silver award at the Deutscher Filmpreis (German Film Prize), the best known honours in the German film industry.

By contrast, DEFA productions that openly question the contradictions of so-called ‘real existing socialism’, are banned and in most cases première only years or even decades later. Two of such ‘forbidden films’, Hermann Zschoche’s Karla (Carla, East Germany 1965/1990), and Jürgen Böttcher’s Jahrgang 45 (Born in ’45, East Germany 1966/1990) will be shown at the Retrospective. Presenting these films in their censored versions, as they were when they were aborted, as well as how they were eventually released in 1990, will reveal the discrepancy between the two. A short documentary by Kurt Tetzlaff will also be shown in two versions: Es genügt nicht 18 zu sein (censored version: Guten Tag – das sind wir, both East Germany 1966).

But as different as conditions may have been, the auteur films from the West and the studio productions from the East have much in common. The protagonists are drifters, rebels or searchers. Like the dockworker, who roams the streets of Hamburg on a sleepless night (Jimmy Orpheus, Roland Klick, West Germany 1966). Or the rebellious brigadier Balla in Spur der Steine (Trace of Stones, Frank Beyer, East Germany 1966), a film that ran in the cinemas for only three days before it too was banned. Or Helene Raupe in Fräulein Schmetterling (Miss Butterfly, Kurt Barthel, East Germany 1965 / Germany 2005), who longs for self-realisation. The film was censored and never completed. Using an experimental form, it contrasts Helene’s unadorned day-to-day life and her professional defeats with her fantasy world.

For most of the female protagonists of the DEFA films, it is normal to have a career, not so in the West. Along with contraception, abortion and adultery, these are issues that are openly addressed by female protagonists in Playgirl (Will Tremper, West Germany 1966) and Mahlzeiten (Lust for Love, Edgar Reitz, West Germany 1966/67). From 1966, the founding of the German Film and Television Academy Berlin (dffb), as well as other film schools, leads to a professionalisation of film education in West Germany. As a consequence, young women directors, who will go on to shape German cinema, make their mark with their first works. “It was important to us to include early short films by directors such as Jeanine Meerapfel, May Spils, Helke Sander, Ula Stöckl and the DEFA documentarian Gitta Nickel in our programme”, says Rainer Rother, Head of the Retrospective and Artistic Director of the Deutsche Kinemathek.

For the Retrospective, Bertz + Fischer Verlag will publish a richly illustrated book in German, including essays by renowned authors, as well as historical documents and photos, some of which have hitherto not been published.

For the first time, the Program Gallery of the Deutsche Kinemathek - Museum für Film und Fernsehen will be supplementing the Retrospective with a special exhibition, showcasing a wide selection of TV programmes from the year 1966.
The Retrospective film programme will once again be complemented by numerous events at the Deutsche Kinemathek. The Museum of Modern Art, New York, has been a partner of the Retrospective since 2011 and will be presenting the films in April 2016.

Special thanks for their support go to section partner Glashütte Original as well as German Films and the partners of this year’s programme, the DEFA Foundation and the Federal Film Archive.

Since 1977, the Berlin International Film Festival has organised film history Retrospectives in cooperation with the Deutsche Kinemathek – Museum für Film und Fernsehen. The Retrospective is always dedicated to an important director or a film history theme. The Retrospective brings German and international films back to the big screen, often with a restored version or new copy. Contemporary film is positioned within a historical context.

Berlinale Classics

Beginning in 2013, the Retrospective expanded to include presentations of Berlinale Classics. By integrating current restorations of film classics as well as rediscovered films in brilliant image and sound a forum is created to premiere the growing number of high-quality restorations and reconstructions that make use of new digital-processing technologies.

As a rule, films screened in Berlinale Classics are introduced by a prominent festival guest. Berlinale Classics carries on the Retrospective torch by presenting new restorations independently of the Retrospective’s current theme, and is supported through co-operations with international partners.

The Retrospective has been managed by the Deutsche Kinemathek since 1977 that has organised the following Retrospectives:

  • Glorious Technicolor. From George Eastman House and Beyond (2015)
  • Aesthetics of Shadow. Lighting Styles 1915–1950 (2014)
  • The Weimar Touch. The International Influence of Weimar Cinema after 1933 (2013)
  • The Red Dream Factory. Mezhrabpom-Film and Prometheus 1921–1936 (2012)
  • Ingmar Bergman. Film as life and life as film (2011)
  • PLAY IT AGAIN…! 60 Years Berlinale (2010)
  • 70 mm - Bigger than Life (2009)
  • Luis Buñuel (2008)
  • City Girls. Images of Women in Silent Film (2007)
  • Dream Girls. Film Stars in the 1950s (2006)
  • Production Design + Film. Locations, Settings, Spaces (2005)
  • New Hollywood 1967-1976. Trouble in Wonderland (2004)
  • F. W. Murnau (2003)
  • European 60’s (2002)
  • Fritz Lang (2001)
  • Artificial People (2000)
  • Otto Preminger (1999)
  • Siodmak Bros. Berlin – London – Paris – Hollywood (1998)
  • G. W. Pabst (1997)
  • William Wyler (1996)
  • Happy Birthday, Cinema! (1995)
    Buster Keaton 100
    Slapstick & Co.
  • Erich von Stroheim (1994)
  • CinemaScope (1993)
  • Babelsberg. A film studio (1992)
  • Cold War (1991)
  • The Year 1945 (1990)
    40 Years Berlinale
  • Europe 1939 (1989)
    Erich Pommer
  • Colour. The History of Colour Film (1988)
  • Rouben Mamoulian (1987)
  • Henny Porten (1986)
  • Special Effects (1985)
  • Ernst Lubitsch 1914-1933 (1984)
  • Exile. Six Actors from Germany (1983)
  • Insurrection of Emotions: Curtis Bernhardt (1982)
    East German Children’s Films
  • The Producer: The Films of Michael Balcon (1981)
  • Billy Wilder (1980)
    3D Films
  • Rudolph Valentino (1979)
    We Danced Around the World. Revue Films
  • Marlene Dietrich, Part 2 (1978)
    Censorship – Banned German Films 1933-1945
  • Marlene Dietrich, Part 1 (1977)
    Love, Death and Technology. Cinema of the Fantastical 1933-1945


  • Eleanor Powell
  • Conrad Veidt, Part 2
  • Great German Films 1929-1932
  • German Short Films of the 1930s, Part 2


  • Greta Garbo
  • Conrad Veidt, Part 1
  • German Short Films of the 1930s, Part 1


  • Lilian Harvey
  • Jacques Feyder
  • Norman McLaren


  • Wilhelm/William Dieterle
  • American Musicals
  • Animations by Dave Fleischer


  • Douglas Fairbanks
  • Ludwig Berger
  • American Animations 1940-1955


  • Busby Berkeley
  • Eddie Cantor


  • Winners of the “Golden Bears” and other Berlinale films
  • Ginger Rogers and Fred Astaire


  • Abel Gance
  • Musicals 1929-1950
  • Oskar Fischinger


  • Ernst Lubitsch, Part 2
  • W. C. Fields


  • Ernst Lubitsch, Part 1
  • Harry Langdon


  • Cinema Novo
  • Max Ophüls
  • Mack Sennett


  • Masterpieces of German Film1895-1932


  • Louis Lumière
  • Pola Negri
  • Paul Leni


  • Elisabeth Bergner
  • E. A. Dupont
  • Karl Grune
  • Yasujiro Ozu


  • Asta Nielsen
  • G. W. Pabst
  • Ingmar Bergman


  • Richard Oswald
  • Billy Wilder
  • Akira Kurosawa


  • 10 Years Golden Berlin Bear
  • Musicals from 1930-1945
  • Musicals from 1930-1945 (Experimental film special programme)


  • International Masterpieces from the Early Years of Talkies


  • Masterpieces of International Film from 1915 to 1945


  • German Artists in Foreign Film


  • The Humour of Nations


  • 60 Years Film


  • Showcase of Famous Films


  • Silent Movies

Section Partner
The watch manufacturer Glashütte Original, co-partner of the Berlinale, has been a section partner of the Homage and Retrospective since 2014.


Retrospective & Homage
Potsdamer Straße 2
10785 Berlin
phone +49 30 300 903-26
fax +49 30 300 903-13