Banned German Film “The Dove on the Roof” to screen

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Darkside Cinema will host the United States premiere of the once-banned German Film “The Dove on the Roof.” The film will screen for free at 215 SW 4th St. in Corvallis on June 2 at 6 p.m. and 8 p.m.

Sebastian Heiduschke, an assistant professor of German at Oregon State University, won the right to premiere the film in the U.S. from the DEFA (Deutsche Film Aktiengesellschaft) Film Library at the University of Massachusetts Amherst.

“I gave a talk about the marketing of ‘The Dove on the Roof’ and other films in contemporary Germany at this year’s convention of the Society of Cinema and Media Studies,” he said. “Then the DEFA Film Library contacted me when the German distributor wanted to release the film in the U.S.”

The DEFA Film Library will subtitle the film for English-speaking audiences. The library is the only archive and study center outside of Europe that is devoted to the study of filmmaking by East German filmmakers.

“The Dove on the Roof,” or “Die Taube auf dem Dach,” is the debut film from director Iris Gusner. It was not released by the German Democratic Republic (East Germany) because government officials felt that it depicted a distorted view of the working class. It was banned and destroyed in 1973, but a working copy of the film titled “Daniel” inadvertently survived.

The film screened twice in 1990 and then disappeared for 19 years. In 2009, a black and white copy was rediscovered in late 2009 and premiered in Berlin in September 2010. The original color copy was lost.

The story follows a young woman named Linda who meets two very different men. Hans is a construction worker who is restless. Daniel is an idealistic student with a spontaneous nature. Her interactions with both men help Linda to understand more about what she wants from life.

The screenings are sponsored by OSU’s School of Language, Culture, and Society, and the DEFA Film Library. Heiduschke, who is an expert on East German cinema, will give an introduction before each screening of the film, which will be followed by a question-and-answer session.

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