Reisch, Günter


Günter Reisch was born on November 24, 1927 in Berlin. At the age of 16, he was drafted into the Wehrmacht. He returned to Potsdam in the fall of 1945, after his release from an American POW camp. In 1948, Reisch joined DEFA’s Young Directors’ Studio. There he worked as an assistant director—first under Gerhard Lamprecht (Emil and the Detectives) and later under Kurt Maetzig and Slatan Dudow—until he became a full-time DEFA employee in 1955.


Reisch’s directorial debut was Junges Gemüse, a film that adapts motifs from Nikolai Gogol’s 1836 play, The Government Inspector, to an East German context. In the following years, his films alternated between comedies and historic works. Anton der Zauberer, one of his most successful comedies, was invited to screen at the 1979 Berlin International Film Festival; unfortunately, due to the festival’s inclusion of The Deer Hunter, a controversial American film about the Vietnam War, the Eastern European countries decided to boycott the festival and Reisch’s film was not shown.


Günter Reisch either wrote or co-wrote almost all the scripts for his films. He collaborated several times with Günther Rücker, including on the film Wolz – Leben und Verklärung eines deutschen Anarchisten—inspired by the life of Max Hoelz, an anarchist in the Weimar Republic—and on the internationally recognized film Die Verlobte (1981 Crystal Globe, Karlovy Vary Film Festival). Reisch also worked with the many of the greatest East German actors, including Armin Mueller-Stahl, Erwin Geschonneck, Eva-Maria Hagen and Jutta Wachowiak.


Reisch has taught at the Hichschule für Film und Fernsehen in Potsdam-Babelsberg, the Bauhaus Universität in Weimar and the Kunsthochschule für Medien in Cologne. He has also mentored younger generations of filmmakers, serving for instance as the advisor for Andreas Dresen’s debut film Stilles Land and Gordian Maugg’s Der olympische Sommer. In 2013, Reisch was honored with the Lifetime Achievement Award by the DEFA-Stiftung. Günter Reisch lived in Berlin until his death in 2014.


[See also:]

Festivals & Awards:

2013 Lifetime Achievement Award, DEFA-Stiftung
1982 First Prize, Filmspiegel Readers' Poll, for Die Verlobte
1982 Main Prize, GDR National Feature Film Festival, Karl-Marx-Stadt, for Die Verlobte
1981 Die Verlobte, Nominated for Golden Hugo, Chicago International Film Festival
1981 Second Prize, Readers' Festival of the Freiheit newspaper, Halle, for Die Verlobte
1981 First Prize for Most Popular Film, Sydney International Film Festival, for Die Verlobte
1981 Virgin of Benalmadena Prize, Benalmadena Iternational Film Authors' Week, Spain for Die Verlobte
1981 Best Film of the Year 1980, Critics' Prize of the Theory and Criticism Section of the GDR Association of Film and Television Professionals for Die Verlobte
1980 Crystal Globe Grand Prix, Karlovy Vary International Film Festival for Die Verlobte
1980 National Prize, Class 1, for Die Verlobte
1978 Anton der Zauberer, Official Selection, Moscow International Film Festival
1978 Anton der Zauberer, Official Selection, Venice International Film Festival


2005 Mozartbrot – ein zu kurzes Märchen (Mozart for Bread – A too Short Fairy Tale, short, Dramaturg)
1996 Land am Rand (Life on the Margin, doc., Advisor)
1993 Der olympische Sommer (The Olympic Summer, Advisor)
1992 Stilles Land (Silent Country, Artistic Director)
1990 Simbabwe: Träume der Zukunft (Zimbabwe: Dreams of the Future, doc., TV)
1986 Wie die Alten sungen (Like Father, Like Son)
1980 Die Verlobte (The Fiancée)
1977 Anton der Zauberer (Anton the Magician)
1973 Wolz – Leben und Verklärung eines deutschen Anarchisten
(Wolz: Life and Illusion of a German Anarchist)
1976 Nelken in Aspik (Carnations in Aspic)
1971 Trotz alledem (In Spite of Everything!)
1970 Unterwegs zu Lenin (On the Way to Lenin, D, Co-S)
1968 Jungfer, sie gefällt mir (Maiden, You Please Me)
1967 Ein Lord am Alexanderplatz (Lord of Alexanderplatz)
1965 Solange Leben in mir ist (As Long as There Is Life in Me)
1963 Der Dieb von San Morengo (The Thief of San Morengo, D, S)
1962 Ach, du fröhliche... (A Lively Christmas Eve)
1961 Gewissen im Aufruhr (Revolt of the Conscience, TV series)
1960 Silvesterpunsch (New Year’s Eve Punch)
1959 Der schweigende Stern (The Silent Star, script)
1959 Maibowle (May Wine)
1958 Das Lied der Matrosen (The Sailors' Song, co-director)
1957 Spur in die Nacht (Trace into the Night, D, Co-Script)
1956 Junges Gemüse (Young Whippersnappers)
1955 Ernst Thälmann – Führer seiner Klasse (Ernst Thälmann – Leader of His Class, Asst. D)
1954 Ernst Thälmann – Sohn seiner Klasse (Ernst Thälmann – Son of His Class, Asst. D)
1951 Roman einer jungen Ehe (Story of a Young Couple, Asst. D)
1950 Familie Benthin (The Benthin Family, Asst. D)
1950 Der Rat der Götter (Council of the Gods, Asst. D)
1949 Quartett zu Fünft (Quartet with Five, Asst. D)

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