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Director Jurgen Böttcher in person

Born in 1931 in Frankenberg, Saxony, Jürgen Böttcher is considered to be the principal, if not only, avant-garde filmmaker in the history of East German film. Since 1957 he has made over 40 films, primarily documentary, and has been painting under the pseudonym "Strawalde." He is regarded as a cinematic genius for his ability to delicately walk the line between creating state-sanctioned "propoganda" while maintaining the dignity of his subject matter an uncompromising artistry.


November 7 (Sunday) 4 pm
Introduced by Kraft Wetzel, one of Germany's leading critics

The Laundry Women (Wäscherinnen)

Directed by Jürgen Böttcher
East Germany 1972, b/w, 35 mm, 23 min.

In the steamy atmosphere of a large, hot, and well-worn wash house, Böttcher reveals in a chain of montages, observations, and acoustic moments the dreams and personal aspirations of young women learning the laborious laundry trade.

Switchmen (Rangierer)

Directed by Jürgen Böttcher
East Germany 1984, b/w, 35mm, 21 min.

Böttcher, known for his respect for the working class, became fascinated with the hard labor of railroad workers. Breaking with documentary conventions, he has completely rejected speech, relying instead on powerful images to relate the dignity of the working man and suggest the hopelessness of his task in a "workers’ paradise."

Painted-Over Films (Übermalungsfilme)

Directed by Jürgen Böttcher
East Germany 1981, color, 35 mm, 16, 21 and 17 min.

Metamorphoses (Verwandlungen) is a playful avant-garde experiment blending animation and photography, in which Böttcher draws on and paints over three well-known masterpieces: Potter’s Bull (Potters Stier), Venus after Giorgione (Giorgione Venus nach), Woman at the Clavichord (Frau am Klavichord).

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