Deutsche Film AG (DEFA) was founded 75 years ago in Potsdam-Babelsberg. By the time of reunification, it had produced some 700 feature films, around 2,500 documentaries and short films, and 950 animated films. Today, the entire film output of the GDR is administered by the DEFA Foundation. Together with the Library of DEFA, this film series was put together to mark the 75th anniversary.
Criticism of the political system was taboo in the GDR. From the official point of view, problems such as housing shortages, unemployment, crime, or youth cultures oriented on a Western model did not exist in the socialist state. All real social issues that the system considered problematic were taboo. Yet it was precisely these topics that many DEFA filmmakers attempted to explore in their feature films and documentaries, even if they had to expect consequences. Long production times or a lack of success were frequent consequences. Thus, these films often did not find distribution in cinemas or were excluded from export. As important contemporary documents, these films allow us today to gain an insight into life in the GDR. The series “Gebrochene Tabus – sozialkritisches Filmschaffen in der DDR” (Broken Taboos – Socially Critical Filmmaking in the GDR) takes up socially critical perspectives in DEFA filmmaking and directs the viewer’s attention to those very topics that were declared taboo.