Filming Die dicke Tilla © DEFA-Stiftung, Jörg Erkens
After the war, Bergmann worked as a freelance photographer in Potsdam. He joined the newly established DEFA Film Studios in 1946, working as a director and cameraman at the Educational Documentary Studio. In 1953, he moved to the feature film division of the studio, where he shot over 50 films before retiring in 1984. His first important feature film was Gerhard Klein’s Alarm im Zirkus.
Bergman came to be recognized as one of the most important East German cinematographers, in part because of his 25-year and 12-film collaboration with director Konrad Wolf. Using grainy film and short-focus lenses, he created a documentary and realistic style that was unusual for DEFA at the time. Always open to new experiments, Bergmann designed the first optical script for Sterne along with Wolf. He directed DEFA’s test film in the 70mm widescreen format and later used this new technology in making Wolf’s film Goya. Another collaborator on these films, the Bulgarian scriptwriter Angel Wagenstein, later used Bergmann’s WWII experiences as his inspiration for the character of Werner Gauke in his 2004 novel, Sbogom, Shanghai (Farewell, Shanghai).
After retiring, Bergmann organized his enormous personal archive as a first step in capturing his life experiences in a book or film. He died in an accident in October 1990, however. Werner Bergmann’s personal archive is now housed at the Potsdam Film Museum.
Festivals & Awards:
|1977||Art Prize of the Free German Trade Union Federation for Mama, ich lebe|
|1971||National Prize, Class 1, for Goya oder der arge Weg der Erkenntnis|
Bibliography & More:
Bergmann, Werner. Das verwundete Objektiv: Ein Bericht aus Briefen und Notizen 1939-1943 (Transl. The Injured Lens: A Report Based on Letters and Notes 1939-1943). Berlin: Aufbau Taschenbuch. 1992.
Im Durchgang (In Transit, co-camera, doc.)
Die Gänse von Bützow (The Geese of Buetzow)
|1982||Der Mann von Cap Arkona (The Man from Cape Arkona, TV)|
|1981||Die dicke Tilla (Fat Little Tilla, also director, script)|
|1980||Darf ich Petruschka zu Dir sagen? (May I Call You Petruschka?)|
|1977||DEFA Disko 77 (DEFA Disco 77)|
|1976||Liebesfallen (Love Traps)|
|1976||Mama, ich lebe (Mama, I'm Alive)|
|1973||Der nackte Mann auf dem Sportplatz (The Naked Man on the Sports Field)|
|1972||Januskopf (Janus Face)|
|1968||Rosen (Roses, TV, director, co-script)|
|1967||DEFA 70 (also director, script)|
|1967||Ich war neunzehn (I Was Nineteen)|
|1964||Der geteilte Himmel (Divided Heaven)|
|1964||Fezters Flucht (Fetzer’s Escape, TV)|
|1960||Leute mit Flügeln (People with Wings)|
|1958||Sonnensucher (Sun Seekers)|
|1955||Einmal ist keinmal (Once Does Not Count)|
|1954||Alarm im Zirkus (Alarm at the Circus)|
|1951||Unsere jungen Künstler (Our Young Artists, short, doc.)|
|1950||Der Weg nach Oben (The Ascending Path)|
|1948||Zurück ins Leben (Return to Life, short, doc.)|
|1950||Ein kleines Wunderwerk (A Little Technical Marvel, short, doc.)|