Divided Heaven (film)

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Der geteilte Himmel
Divided Heaven
Bundesarchiv Bild 183-C0712-0002-008, Karlsbad, Filmfestival, Beyer, Bodenstein, Lesser, Simenow, Witt.jpg
Guests at the premiere of Der geteilte Himmel at the Karlovy Vary International Film Festival, 12 July 1964.
Directed byKonrad Wolf
Produced byHans-Joachim Funk
Written byChrista Wolf, Gerhard Wolf, Konrad Wolf, Willi Brückner, Kurt Barthel
StarringRenate Blume
Music byHans-Dieter Hosalla
CinematographyWerner Bergmann
Edited byHelga Krause
Distributed byProgress Film
Release date
  • 9 March 1964 (1964-03-09)
(commercial release)
Running time
116 minutes
CountryEast Germany

Divided Heaven (German: Der geteilte Himmel) is an East German drama film directed by Konrad Wolf. It was released in 1964.


While recovering from a mental breakdown, the young Rita Seidel recalls the last two years, in which she fell in love with Manfred, a chemist who is ten years older. As Manfred became disillusioned with his opportunities in East Germany, he moved to the West. Rita followed him there and tried to persuade him to return but soon realized he would never do it. Rita comes to terms with the past and decides to concentrate on her work and the building of a socialist society. Although some of the characters are shown as overzealous in their support of the regime, for obvious reasons the nature of the East German dictatorship is never depicted or discussed. The Stasi, the all-pervasive secret police headed by the director's brother Markus Wolf, is not mentioned.The film is set in the period immediately before the Berlin Wall was built.



The film's script was adapted from Christa Wolf's novel Der geteilte Himmel (Divided Heaven), released in 1963. Director Konrad Wolf (no relation to Christa Wolf's husband Gerhard Wolf) had read the author's manuscript before the book was published and decided to film it. The main filming took place in Halle from late 1963 to early 1964.[1]


Der geteilte Himmel was viewed by 1.5 million people in the first year after its premiere.[2] In 1965, Konrad Wolf and leading actor Eberhard Esche both received the Erich Weinert Medal for their work on the film.[3]

West German newspaper Süddeutsche Zeitung described the film as "(i)mages of strict and restrained (black and white) beauty"[4] Die Zeit's reviewer wrote "Although it was made by communists... Konrad and Christa Wolf had to break away from their belief in the party in order to make this picture... And that is why it is so convincing."[5] West German author Hans Helmut Prinzler called it "the first candid attempt to portray the national consciousnesses in East Germany."[2]

The film was removed from circulation on several occasions in the following years, when the Socialist Unity Party of Germany decreed it, depending on the political situation.[6] In 1970, in one resolution to remove it a Ministry of Culture official concluded that it "unnecessarily over-stresses the theme of the flight from the Republic."[7]

In 1995, a group of historians and cinema researchers chose Der geteilte Himmel as one of the 100 most important German films ever made.[8]

On DVD with English subtitles[edit]

Divided Heaven was issued in June 2010 on Region 1 DVD by First Run Features. The subtitles are in only one language, English, with the descriptive text on the cover also indicated in English.[9] The English-subtitled DVD has not been reissued, but is available through DEFA Film Library.[4]


  1. ^ Ralf Schenk. Der Geteilte Himmel. Published in Film-Dienst, Issue 1. Katholisches Institut für Medieninformationen (2004). ISSN 0720-0781. Page 12.
  2. ^ a b Daniela Berghahn. Hollywood Behind the Wall: the Cinema of East Germany. ISBN 978-0-7190-6172-1. Page 193.
  3. ^ "Filmdetails: Der geteilte Himmel (1964)" (in German). DEFA-Stiftung (DEFA Foundation). Retrieved 2 May 2019.
  4. ^ a b "Divided Heaven". DEFA Film Library. University of Massachusetts Amherst. Retrieved 2 May 2019.
  5. ^ Paul Sethe. Deutschlands geteilter Himmel. Die Zeit, 4 February 1966.
  6. ^ Frank Burkhard Habel. Das große Lexikon der DEFA-Spielfilme. ISBN 978-3-89602-349-0. Page 211.
  7. ^ Der geteilte Himmel, DEFA commission protocol, 25 August 1970 Archived April 28, 2010, at the Wayback Machine. filmportal.de.
  8. ^ Der geteilte Himmel Archived October 6, 2011, at the Wayback Machine. progress-film.de.
  9. ^ Divided Heaven at Amazon.com

External links[edit]