Campus News

Renowned German Filmmaker Coming to Campus

Story posted November 06, 2002

Frank Beyer, a renowned German filmmaker and author, will be a guest of Bowdoin's German Department November 15-18. In addition to discussions with students in two German courses, "The Literary Imagination of the Holocaust" and "Post-1945 Literature and Culture," Beyer will hold two campus-wide events, which are free and open to the public.

On Saturday, November 16, Beyer will introduce his film Jakob der Lügner (Jacob the Liar, 1974), the only East German film ever nominated for an Academy Award. The screening, supported by German, Film Studies, Hillel and the Bowdoin Film Society, takes place at 7 p.m. in Sills Auditorium. The film is in German with English subtitles.

On Sunday, November 17, Beyer will give a campus talk in English, "Making Films in East Germany." The event, at 7 p.m. in Beam Classroom, is sponsored by German, Film Studies, and Eurasian and Eastern European Studies.

Born in 1932, Frank Beyer studied with Milos Forman and other important East Bloc filmmakers at the Prague Film School. He became one of the most important German filmmakers of the postwar era, directing more than 25 films for screen and television. Beyer's 1966 Trace of Stones was banned by East German censors as being "politically inappropriate." He was not allowed to work as a filmmaker for the East German DEFA Studios until his re-mergence in 1974 with Jacob the Liar.

Beyer, who was active both in East and West Germany as of the early 1980s, maintained an uninterrupted productivity after the fall of the Wall. One of his most important post-reunification films, Nikolaikirche (Church of St.Nikolai, 1995), is a reflection on the story of a family in Leipzig, taking place in the last years and months of the East German state. In the fall of 2001, Beyer published his memoirs Wenn der Wind sich dreht (When the Wind Turns).

Frank Beyer's visit to Bowdoin concludes his month-long tour through the United States. Featuring conference appearances, film festivals, lectures and exhibitions, the tour was co-organized by the DEFA film archive at the University of Massachusetts-Amherst, the Goethe Institute and various German departments nationwide.

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