A Series of German Films from the former German Democratic Republic shown in Cyprus
Jutta Hoffmann, a most popular actress in early DEFA films was present at the show.
A cooperation of the Goethe Institut Nicosia, DEFA Foundation and Cyprus University
By Heidi Trautmann
Once a year our Goethe Institut in Nicosia, located in the buffer zone near the old Ledra Palace, organizes a German film festival with outstanding films that are shown at the UNESCO Theatre at the Cyprus University in Nicosia. In October 2012 the programme included films, that were provided by the DEFA Foundation in Berlin. For the occasion of the film show of such extraordinary provenance the very popular actress Jutta Hoffmann who had parts in two films that were shown came to Cyprus to discuss them with the audience. Also present was Konstance Schiller the public relation officer of the DEFA Foundation.
I had the pleasure to meet Jutta Hoffmann, her husband Nicholaus Haenel, an Austrian actor and director, and Konstance Schiller at our house in North Cyprus, introduced by Holger Briel (Dept. of Communication at the Cyprus University) who was appointed host of the event. They had come to the northern part to see visit Kyrenia and Bellapais on the last day of their first visit to our island.
Jutta Hoffmann, a petite woman of fragile appearance, plays the part of self conscious young women opposing any oppression or restriction in women rights and the bureaucracy and strict political programmes by the German Democratic Republic where freedom of mind is concerned. The films shown in Cyprus were KARLA and DER DRITTE / THE THIRD.
Looking at her, Jutta Hoffmann, born in 1941in Halle/Saale, the same year as I, seems to be just as strong-willed as the parts she plays, a woman of a very fine but strong human tissue and living according to the values she has set for herself.
Already early in her life she is fascinated by the world of theatre and after graduation from high school she joins the Academy for Film and Television in Potsdam-Babelsberg, Department of Theatre. In the early 60s she starts her career as stage actress at the famous Maxim Gorki Theatre in Berlin. Besides her classical roles on stage she gets involved in film productions realized by DEFA. After the 11th plenum of the GDR Central Committee in 1965 executing a new order on cultural and educational levels, many films produced by DEFA were forbidden for publication. However, she received many awards as actress and in 1972 she was given the award as best actress at the International Film Festival in Venice.
In a German critic I read: “The type of woman she played on stage and on screen, educated, sensitive and erotic, was, next to Angelica Domröse, the inpiring example for an entire generation of women in the GDR. Her versatility and ethic in her work as actress remains unequalled.”
In the 80s she moved to the West and started to play on German stages, with The Münchener Kammerspiele in Munich being her first engagement for plays by Shakespeare and Lorca among others; she also played on stages in Hamburg in Berlin with plays such as ‘Mr. Puntila and his man Matti’. Her acting performance was praised by the critics and in 1984 she is given the award as best stage actress.
Jutta Hoffmann today feels responsible for the education of the talented young acting generation and has taught for several years in Berlin and Vienna as private drama teacher and in 1992 accepted a position as professor at the Conservatoire for Music and Theatre in Hamburg.
Her stay here in Cyprus was short as she has to return to what she feels is her duty. I am happy that I had the chance to talk to her and her family. I wish her many years to come to hand on her competence and morality to the young acting generation. I only wished I could have shown her our professional theatre in Cyprus.
Published in Cyprus Observer on Nov 3, 2012