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Wolfgang Peterson turns 80: Success in Hollywood, creation for German film culture

Wolfgang Peterson turns 80: Success in Hollywood, creation for German film culture

Harun Baroki, Hartmut Pitomsky, Wolfgang Peterson. At first glance, there may be something wrong with this list of names. The fact that they all came from the first year of the Berlin Film and Television Academy is only remembered today at the annual festivals. But it also shows that the fight between the lawyers of a political and commercial cinema is only a sham war that took place 50 years ago.

This paradox becomes even more significant in another series: Clint Eastwood, Dustin Hoffman, Harrison Ford, George Clooney, Brad Pitt.

Wolfgang Peterson, a director from Utah in Shellsvik-Holstein, was filmed with some of the biggest stars in Hollywood. Many movie pranks in the German provinces can dream of this. Little Wolfgang began to breathe American mythology into cinema (Howard Hawks, John Ford) – he entered empty – and later developed into legend as an adult.

Peterson’s “Crime Scenes” Classic

Wolfgang Peterson, who turned eighty on Sunday, was one of the most successful directors in Hollywood in the 1990s with “In the Line of Fire”, “Explosion” and “Air Force One”. In the seventies he infected German television with the Hollywood virus. In politically volatile Berlin, Peterson stumbled innocently in 1967, when people like him became known as “cake filmmakers”: more interested in stories than politics.

Peterson says in Dominic Groff’s documentary, “Ofin Wunde Deutscher Film,” he produced paid-sponsored “cinematic films under cover.” It was then possible that the distinction between cinema and television seemed to have disappeared long before the Netflix era.

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Director Wolfgang Peterson (right) and writer Lother-Gunder Pucheim in the background of the submarine for the film “Das Boot”.Photo: Image Alliance / dpa

Peterson’s three “Tatard” films with Klaus Schwarzkopf (written by the brilliant Herbert Lichtenfeld) are classic today, especially with 16-year-old Nostasja Kinski (a scandal at the time) “Refizuknis”. Holstein’s sheriff / illegal story “Jacktrawier” cultivates his love for Westerners in the heart of Switzerland. Home pictures of Kiel disguised as “Tadorde”, BRT Noir.

Peterson created one of the most beautiful gay romantic films

Film critic Hans-Christophe Bloomberg wrote that Peterson was not interested in art at the wedding of German outdoor films. This means that it is a compliment, and Peterson has no objection to the verdict. Still, it’s only half the story. His first original film, “One S Two” (1974), the Berlin crime thriller between the university and the bar in the corner, once again showed new Hollywood influence with Schwarzkopf and Jர்கrgen Brochno.

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With “Die Sequence”, Peterson filmed one of the most beautiful and tragic gay love films in German cinema in 1977 in unadorned black and white films: already a swan song for his country.

Growing up with a father who was not often there, Peterson could only tell his love stories as male stories. At the time he was considered the greatest fantasy antipode to the phosphor, although their images were in many ways close. Das Boot was introduced in 1981 as a game changer for German cinema and Peterson.

Exaggerated view of America

Considered a series, the film received nominations for six Academy Awards, which were later described as the last nail in the coffin of Outdoor Cinema. But that was only partly Peterson’s fault, and above all an issue for the cinema of the German authorities.

In an interview with Graff, Peterson recalls how he stood as a boy, and the Americans on the incoming ships seemed to him like heavenly phenomena. His American films may be a reason to look at America from an elevated point of view, rather than patriotic.

With Clint Eastwood, the JFK shock was removed, Harrison Ford said, after “Independence Day”, before Comrade Roland Emerick, already the second defensive US president – conscientious objectors, had entered the White House. This Hollywood stage is an episode.

For his 80th birthday, which he celebrates in Los Angeles, it is important to remember how important Wolfgang Peterson was to the German film.