Inspiring and Educating GDR Women: Iris Gusner, Feminism, and the Film Kaskade Rückwärts Public Deposited

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  • Directing feature films in the GDR was largely a male-dominated profession. One of the few female directors was Iris Gusner, whose films explored issues working GDR women faced in their everyday lives. A close reading of her 1984 feature film Kaskade Rückwärts, in particular the focus on sound and on camera angles, exemplifies clandestine strategies Gusner used to create a feminist film. Gusner reveals the hypocrisy prevalent in GDR society pertaining to achieving gender equality as she sets up her heroine embarking on a quest for love in a patriarchal GDR. A narrative that initially appears to confirm patriarchal structures gradually turns into a cinematic feminist manifesto that successfully challenges GDR gender ideology. As a result Kaskade offered female GDR viewers a motivating experience and simultaneously challenged the male-dominated GDR film industry.
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  • Heiduschke, S. (2014). Inspiring and Educating GDR Women: Iris Gusner, Feminism, and the Film Kaskade Rückwärts. [Article in Press]. Women in German Yearbook, 30.
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