Harry Bremer


Harry Bremer appears in the credits next to Béla Balász (co-camera) and Walther Ruttmann (director) in the documentation Deutscher Rundfunk, the first German full-length sound film that premiered at the 1928 opening ceremony of the fifth Great German Radio Show in Berlin.


After WWII, Bremer joined the camera team of Der Augenzeuge (Eyewitness) newsreels at the newly founded DEFA Studio in 1946. Bremer’s name is not only credited to the very first issue of Der Augenzeuge, but he photographed many more issues until 1953. This was also where he met director Kurt Maetzig, who first worked for Der Augenzeuge and directed short documentaries before moving to feature films. Bremer worked with Maetzig on several documentaries, including Einheit SPD-KPD (Unity SPD-KPD, 1946) and the first DEFA documentary in color, Immer bereit (Always Ready, 1950), about the first Deutschlandtreffen der Jugend, a cultural program aimed to promote German unity based on socialist values regarding German youth.


In the late 1950s, Harry Bremer filmed two Berliner Ensemble (BE) productions for East German Television and archiving purposes. The first one was the recording of the production Katzgraben. This recording was directed by Manfred Wekwerth and Max Japp. The second was Manfred Wekwerth’s 1958 re-staging of Brecht’s production Die Mutter (Mother), a theater adaptation of Maxim Gorki’s novel. Cameraman Harry Blume was also the co-director and co-scriptwriter of the archival recording.


When Manfred Wekwerth and Peter Palitzsch took on the DEFA film adaptation of Brecht’s Mutter Courage und ihre Kinder (Mother Courage and Her Children), they asked cameraman Harry Bremer to join their team. Joachim Land describes Bremer’s work in the film in Episches Theater als Film (Epic Theater as Film): “Cameraman Harry Bremer, whose background is in documentary film, shot Mother Courage in a stark and sober manner, creating distance to the events and the leading character. […] He makes use of strong light so that any impression of an idyll is eliminated at the outset. Contrasts increasingly disappear, and people and objects merge […] Faces become more and more indistinguishable, which, apart from the light, emphasizes the make-up. This creates an exsanguinous impression.”


After Mother Courage, Bremer photographed a few more short documentaries.


1962 Rostocker Begegnungen (Encounters in Rostock, short, doc.)
1961 Frans Masereel (co-camera, short, doc.)
1961 In 120 Minuten (In 120 Minutes, short, doc.)

Die Fensterputzerbrigade (The Window Cleaner’s Brigade, short, doc.)

1960 Mutter Courage und ihre Kinder (Mother Courage and Her Children)

Die Mutter (Mother, archival recording of BE production, co-dir., co-script, camera)

1957 Katzgraben (TV recording of BE production)
1957 Ick und die Berliner (The Berliners and I, short, doc.)
1956 Sanssouci heute (Sanssouci Today, short, doc.)
1950 Immer bereit (Always Ready, co-camera, doc.)
1950 Wilhelm Pieck – Das Leben unseres Präsidenten (Wilhelm Pieck – Our President’s Life, co-camera, doc.)
1949 Treffpunkt Budapest (Meeting Place Budapest, co-camera, short, doc.)
1948 Wer wählt, wählt Krieg (Who Votes, Votes for War, co-camera, short, doc.)
1947 Sachsenhausen-Prozess (The Sachsenhausen Trial, co-camera, short, doc.)
1946 Musikalischer Besuch (The Musicians’s Visit, co-camera, short, doc.)
1946 Berlin im Aufbau (Rebuilding Berlin, co-camera, short, doc.)
1946 Einheit SPD-KPD (Unity SPD and KPD, co-camera, short, doc.)
1946-53 Der Augenzeuge (Eyewitness, series, doc.)
1928 Deutscher Rundfunk (German Radio Station, co-camera, doc.)

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