Kurt Maetzig, pioneering East German filmmaker, dies at 101
Kurt Maetzig, one of East Germany’s pioneering filmmakers, died on August 8 at his home in the village of Wildkuhl, Mecklenburg-Vorpommern, in what used to be East Germany. Maetzig was 101.
According to the New York Times obit, at first the half-Jewish Kurt Maetzig (born Jan. 25, 1911, in Berlin) made films that “scrutinized anti-Semitism, corporate complicity with fascism and other fault lines in German society that had opened the way to Nazi rule.” Among Maetzig’s 30 narrative and documentary features are Marriage in the Shadows (1947), Council of the Gods (1950), The Sailor’s Song (1958), and The Rabbit Is Me (1965).
Kurt Maetzig: Socially conscious movies
Based on the true story of Meta and Joachim Gottschalk, Marriage in the Shadows follows an actor and his Jewish wife who ultimately decide to commit suicide so as to evade deportation to Nazi Germany’s death camps. In Council of the Gods, a chemical conglomerate profits from the Nazi regime by producing poison gas for the death camps. The Rabbit Is Me, for its part, attacked corruption in the East German justice system, landing Maetzig in trouble with that country’s communist authorities. The director had to offer a public apology.
Kurt Maetzig’s last movie was Man Against Man, released in 1976. The film earned Karin Schröder (tied with Hildegard Knef for Everyone Dies Alone) the Best Actress Award at the Karlovy Vary Film Festival.
Kurt Maetzig image via DEFA.
Screenwriter Robin Swicord Elected to Academy’s Board of Governors
Robin Swicord, an Academy Award nominee for The Curious Case of Benjamin Button (shared with Eric Roth), has been elected to the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences’ Board of Governors, representing the Writers Branch. The announcement was made earlier today by Academy President Hawk Koch. (Image: Robin Swicord and ’40s Paramount star Lizabeth Scott at an Academy screening of the 1946 film noir The Strange Love of Martha Ivers.)
Robin Swicord will fill the seat left open by recent death of governor Frank Pierson (Dog Day Afternoon). The other two current Writers Branch representatives on the Board of Governors are Bill Condon, whose The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn - Part 2 opens next November, and Phil Alden Robinson. Following Academy bylaws, Swicord will remain on the Board until the next scheduled election in June 2013.
Robin Swicord movies
Robin Swicord, Lizabeth Scott photo: Todd Wawrychuk / © A.M.P.A.S.