Warneke, Lothar


Lothar Warneke was born on September 15, 1936 in Leipzig, Germany. He studied theology at the University of Leipzig from 1954 to 1959, after which he resigned from church life and never became a minister. He worked for a textile company until starting his studies at the German Film School in Potsdam-Babelsberg. 


Warneke started his film career as an assistant director to well-known DEFA directors, including Egon Günther, Joachim Kunert and Kurt Maetzig. He co-directed the comedy thriller Mit mir nicht, Madam! His solo directorial debut was the film Dr. med. Sommer II, about a young doctor who finds it difficult to remain true to his ideals.


In many of his films Warneke, who was strongly influenced by Italian neorealism, included documentary-style scenes shot with a handheld camera. He worked with renowned documentary cinematographer Thomas Plenert on three of his most important films: Die Beunruhigung, about a woman who re-evaluates her life when she learns that she may have cancer; the love story Eine sonderbare Liebe; and Blonder Tango, about a Chilean expatriate in East Germany, based on the novel by Omar Saavedra Santis.


Warneke’s last feature, Einer trage des anderen Last—about a vicar and a dedicated communist who share a room at a sanatorium in the early 1950s—was his most successful film. It was shown at many festivals, including the 1988 Berlin International Film Festival in West Berlin. After German unification, Warneke directed short documentaries and taught at the Konrad Wolf Academy for Film and Television in Potsdam-Babelsberg.


Lothar Warneke’s films are indispensable records of daily life in East Germany and often reflect on the lives of emancipated women in a socialist society. Film historian Erika Richer conducted extensive interviews with Lothar Warneke between 2001 and 2004; published as Die Schönheit dieser Welt (2005), they provide insight into his life, work and ideas about the role of art. Warneke died in Potsdam on June 5, 2005.

Festivals & Awards:

1988 Silver Bear for Best Actors, Manfred Möck and Jörg Pose, Berlin International Film Festival, for Bear Ye One Another's Burden
1988 Nominated for Golden Bear, Berlin International Film Festival, for Bear Ye One Another's Burden
1982 Nominated for Golden Lion, Venice International Film Festival, for Apprehension
1981 Nominated for Golden Prize, Moscow International Film Festival, for Our Short Life
1977 Nominated for Golden Prize, Moscow International Film Festival, for Incorrigible Barbara
1974 Life with Uwe, Locarno Film Festival screening

Bibliography & More:

Richter, Erika and Lothar Warneke. Die Schönheit dieser Welt. Berlin: DEFA-Stiftung, 2005.


Zeitzeugengespräch: Lothar Warneke, Germany, 1999, Zeitzeugen TV Film- & Fersehproduktion/DEFA-Stiftung.


Unser kurzes Leben: Lothar Warneke – Ein Moralist und seine Filme, Germany, 1997, dirs. Ullrich Kasten & Fred Gehler, ORB Potsdam.


1998 Die Brandenburger. Chronik eines Landes (The People of Brandenburg: Chronicle of a State, TV doc., co-dir)
1997 Das 7. Jahr – Ansichten zur Lage der Nation: Warum bist du eigentlich nicht abgehauen?– Harald Kretzschmar (Year 7: On the State of the Union—Harald Kretzschmar's Caricatures, TV doc.)
1993 Zwei Schicksale oder Eine Königstragödie (Two Fates, or A Royal Tragedy, doc.)
1992 Ich bin das achte Weltwunder – Marcello Cammi (Marcello Cammi: I Am the Eighth Wonder of the World, doc.)
1987 Einer trage des anderen Last (Bear Ye One Another's Burden)
1985 Blonder Tango (Blond Tango)
1984 Eine sonderbare Liebe (A Strange Love)
1981 Die Beunruhigung
1980 Unser kurzes Leben (Our Short Life)
1978 Addio, piccola mia
1976 Die unverbesserliche Barbara (Incorrigible Barbara)
1973 Das zweite Leben des Friedrich Wilhelm Georg Platow (The Second Life of Friedrich Wilhelm Georg Platow, actor)
1973 Leben mit Uwe (Living with Uwe)
1972 Es ist eine alte Geschichte (It's an Old Story)
1970 Dr. med. Sommer II (Dr. Sommer II)
1968 Mit mir nicht, Madam! (Not with Me, Madam!, co-dir.)
1965/90 Wenn du groß bist, lieber Adam (When You're Older, Dear Adam, asst. dir.)
1965/90 Das Kaninchen bin ich (The Rabbit is Me, actor)
1965 Die Abenteuer des Werner Holt (The Adventures of Werner Holt, asst.dir.)

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