CORVALLIS, Ore. – The United States premiere of the once-banned German film “The Dove on the Roof” will take place on June 2 in Corvallis.
There will be two free, public screenings of this acclaimed 1973 film – which has never been shown in the U.S. and just recently was shown publicly for the first time in Europe. Screenings are set for 6 p.m. and 8 p.m. at the Darkside Cinema, 215 S.W. 4th St.
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 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 is subtitling the movie for English-speaking audiences. DEFA Film Library is the only archive and study center outside Europe devoted to the study of filmmaking by East German filmmakers. DEFA stands for Deutsche Film Aktiengesellschaft – the state-run East German studios where films were made from 1946 to 1990.
“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 considered it depicting a distorted view of the working class. It was banned and destroyed in 1973, but a working copy of the film titled. “Daniel.” survived by accident.
After two screenings in 1990, the film went missing for another 19 years, but a black and white copy was rediscovered in late 2009, and premiered in Berlin in September 2010. The original color copy has been lost so this version that premiered in theaters after 37 years has become a testimony of film censorship.
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.
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.
The screenings are sponsored by OSU’s School of Language, Culture, and Society, and the DEFA Film Library.