In 1949, postwar Germany officially split into two separate countries with the formation of the German Democratic Republic. Also known as East Germany, the GDR was isolated from the Western world for nearly three decades, but it developed its own, equally rich literary and cinematic cultures.
East Germany did begin producing motion pictures before it officially broke away from West Germany. The films initially were rooted in similar cinematic traditions, says Oregon State University German language professor and world culture scholar Sebastian Heiduschke. He says when the Berlin Wall went up, the similarities between East and West German filmmaking began to disappear.