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The Visual Center

The Visual Center

New in the Digital Film Collection

Special Collections - DEFA (East Germany) and Michlala (Jerusalem)

The Visual Center has acquired twenty-two films from DEFA (Deutsche Film Aktiengesellschaft), which was the official East German film production company between 1946-92. DEFA produced over 7,500 films, and although they exhibit depth, variety, and a daring attempt to test the limits of censorship, they remain largely unknown among film enthusiasts worldwide.

The Jerusalem, Tel Aviv, and Haifa cinematheques held a DEFA retrospective in November 2007. The program featured Academy Award nominee Jakob der Lügner (Jacob the Liar, 1975), directed by Frank Beyer, and based on the eponymous novel by Jurek Becker. Other Holocaust-related films included in the retrospective were The Murderers are Among Us (1946, directed by Wolfgang Staudte), and The Second Track (1962, directed by Joachim Kunert), both of which confront Germany's Nazi past. The Visual Center co-sponsored academic lectures at the screenings of these two films, included among the twenty-two titles recently acquired (as mentioned above).

Five films produced by the Michlalah  (the Jerusalem College for Religious Women) have also been added to the Visual Center's film collection.  Rare survivor testimonies by Orthodox and Ultra-Orthodox Jews concerning issues of religious observance are highlighted in these films.