Böttcher, Jürgen


Director Jürgen Böttcher is also a painter who goes by the pseudonym Strawalde He was born on July 8, 1931 in Frankenberg, Saxony and studied at the Dresden Academy of Fine Arts from 1949 to 1953. Because of ideological differences, he was blacklisted and thrown out of the Association for Visual Arts in the fall of 1961. Only in the 1980s was the originality of Böttcher’s artwork recognized. His paintings belong to important art collections, including those of the National Gallery in Berlin, Albertina in Vienna, Boston Public Library, Museum Ludwig in Cologne and Bibliothèque Nationale de France in Paris. In addition to internationally known German museums, his paintings have been exhibited in Canada, France, Brazil, and Singapore. In 2012, the Lindenau-Museum in Altenburg hosted a retrospective entitled “STRAWALDE Jürgen Böttcher.”


As a filmmaker, Böttcher studied directing at the German Academy for Film (now “Konrad Wolf” Academy for Film and Television Potsdam-Babelsberg) from 1955 to 1960. He then worked as a director at the DEFA Studio for Documentary Films until 1991. Far from the DEFA documentary mainstream, Böttcher made over forty aesthetically provocative films influenced by his experience as a painter.


Despite the recognition he received, his career was marked by problems with the authorities. His first documentary, Drei von vielen (Three of Many, 1961), a portrait of three amateur painters in the evening class he taught, was banned and not shown until 1988. His only narrative feature film, Jahrgang 45 (Born in ’45, 1965), which was inspired by Italian neo-realism and has attained cult status among cineastes, was also banned.


Most of Böttcher’s documentaries reflect his artistic interests. Kurzer Besuch bei Hermann Glöckner (Hermann Glöckner: A Brief Visit, 1984) is a portrait of one of the most important East German representatives of the constructivist art movement. The three films in his experimental trilogy Verwandlungen (Transformations, 1981) merge his talent as a filmmaker and painter, as they document on 35mm his overpainting of postcards of three well-known paintings. His two full-length documentaries—Die Mauer (The Wall, 1990) and Konzert im Freien (A Place in Berlin, 2001), both considered masterpieces by critics—also juxtapose history and art.


Since 1994, Böttcher has shot video diaries, some of which he has shared with audiences. Böttcher lives in Berlin.


See Böttcher's website strawalde.de and a short film on the artist, interviewed by Günter Gaus:



Festivals & Awards:

2011  Lifetime Achievement Award, Academy for Film and Television, Potsdam-Babelsberg
2006 Berlinale Camera, Berlin International Film Festival
2001 German Order of Merit
2000 Golden Dove for Lifetime Achievement, Leipzig Documentary Film Festival
1994 Officier de l’Ordre des Arts et de Lettres for his artistic work
1992 German Film Award in Gold for Lifetime Achievement
1991 FIPRESCI Prize, Berlin International Film Festival, for Die Mauer
1991 Felix, Best Documentary, European Film Awards, for Die Mauer
1990 FIPRESCI Prize & Interfilm Award Honorable Mentions, Berlin International Film Festival, for Jahrgang 45
1987 Grand Prix Brioude, France, for Rangierer
1986 Honorable Mention, International Film Festival Melbourne, for Rangierer
1985 FICC and Interfilm Award, International Short Film Festival Oberhausen, for Rangierer
1978  Award of the World Peace Council, Leipzig International Film Festival for Documentary and Animated Films, for Martha
1978 Award of the Festival Organizers, International Short Film Festival Oberhausen, for Martha
1973 Honorable Mention, Moscow International Film Festival, for Wäscherinnen
1971 Golden Dove, Leipzig International Film Festival for Documentary and Animated Films, for Song international
1962 Silver Dove, Leipzig International Film Festival for Documentary and Animated Films, for Ofenbauer

Bibliography & More:


STRAWALDE malt, spricht, singt (Germany, doc., 7 min., b/w, dir. Peter Badel & team)
Mein Leben. Jürgen Böttcher-Strawalde (Germany, TV, doc., 45 min., dir. Christian Beetz)
Der Maler und Filmemacher Jürgen Böttcher/Strawalde (Germany, doc., 15 min., Kubus Serie, dir. Hans-Peter Dürhager)
Akkorde im Schnittpunkt der Gleise (Germany, doc., 44 min., dir. Ulrich Kavka)
Gebrochene Glut (Germany, TV, doc., 96 min., dir. Hans-Dieter Grabe)
Das Gemeinschaftsbild von Penck und Strawalde (Germany, InterNationes, doc., 29 min., dir. Heiner Sylvester)
La Villette (Germany, doc., 53 min., dir. Gerd Kroske)



2001 Konzert im Freien (A Place in Berlin, doc.)
1999 The Skatalites in Amsterdam
1994-on Videotagebücher (Video Diaries)
1990 Die Mauer (The Wall)
1987 In Georgien (In Georgia)
1986 Die Küche (The Kitchen)
1984 Kurzer Besuch bei
Hermann Glöckner

(Hermann Glöckner: A Short Visit)
1984 Rangierer (Shunters)
1984 Der schönste Traum (The Most Beautiful Dream)
1983 Drei Lieder (Three Songs)
1981 Verwandlungen: Venus
nach Giorgione, Potters
Stier, Frau am Klavichord

(Transformations: Venus
by Giorgione, Potter’s Bull,
Woman at the Clavichord
1978 Martha
1978 Murieta
1977 Im Lohmgrund (In the Lohm Valley)
1976 Ein Weimarfilm (A Weimar Film)
1976 Grosskochberg – Garten der öffentlichen Landschaft (Grosskochberg – Garden of the Public Landscape)
1974 Die Mamais (The Mamais)
1974 Weggefährten – Begegnungen im 25. Jahr der DDR (Comrades – Meeting in the 25th Year of the GDR)
1974 Erinnere dich mit Liebe und Hass (Remember with Love and Hate)
1974 Wer die Erde liebt (Whoever Loves the World, co-director)
1972 Zum Beispiel REWATEX (For Example REWATEX)
1972 Wäscherinnen
(Laundresses, doc.)
1972 Song international (Song International)
1970 Der Oktober kam… (October Arrived…, co-director)
1970 Dialog mit Lenin (Dialogue with Lenin)
1970 Arbeiterfamilie (Worker’s Family)
1968 Tierparkfilm (A Film about the Zoo)
1968 Ein Vertrauensmann (A Man of Confidence)
1967 Fest der Freundschaft (Festival of Friendship)
1967 Wir waren in Karl-Marx-Stadt (We Were in Karl-Marx-Stadt)
1967 Der Sekretär (The Party Secretary, doc.)
1965 Jahrgang 45 (Born in '45, feature film)
1964 Barfuß und ohne Hut (Barefoot and without a Hat)
1964 Kindertheater (Children’s Theater)
1963 Charlie & Co.
1963 Stars
1962 Im Pergamon-Museum (At the Pergamon Museum)
1962 Ofenbauer (Furnace Makers)
1962 Drei von uns (Three among Us, co-director)
1961 Drei von vielen (Three of Many)

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