As one of Eastern Europe's most important directors, Konrad Wolf (1925-1982) served as a cinematic lens on Germany's historical tribulations. Born in 1925, Konrad Wolf's life was shaped by his Jewish communist father being forced to to escape Nazi persecution and emigrate to Moscow in the 1930s where Wolf grew up as a Soviet citizen. He then returned to Germany as a 19-year-old lieutenant in the Red Army during World War II, which inspired his acclaimed classic "I WAS NINETEEN" (1968).
Wolf‘s commitment to free artistic expression is reflected within his cinematic oeuvre by a strong aesthetic and a nuanced portrayal of characters and situations. His anti-fascist film "STARS" (1959) earned him the Special Jury Prize at Cannes. In "DIVIDED HEAVEN" (1964, adapted from Christa Wolf’s novel), Wolf captures the complexities of life in divided Germany. Wolf's final feature film, "SOLO SUNNY" (1980), authentically portrays the life of a young singer in 1980s East Berlin and its star, Renate Krößner won the Best Actress Award at the Berlinale in 1980.
Despite his background as a Red Army officer, his elder brother's position as the head of the East German foreign intelligence service, or his long tenure of the official position of president of the GDR Academy of Arts, Wolf maintained his independence, presenting a narrative that at times went beyond the expectations of GDR officials. His film “SUN SEEKERS” (1958) was banned by the authorities for more than a decade, while "DIVIDED HEAVEN" was repeatedly removed from circulation.
DEFA Foundation and DEFA Distribution, in close collaboration with Office, will complete the restoration of Wolf’s fourteen films in 2025, for the commemoration of the centenary of his birth.