You will be redirected back to your article in seconds

Alfred Bauer: Berlin founding father

Cinephile was fest's first director

After the end of WWII, former soldier and passionate cinephile Alfred Bauer served as film adviser to the British military government.

In 1950 he edited the “German Film Almanac 1929-1950,” and later the same year he was appointed director of the film festival — a job that would consume him for the next quarter-century.

Along the way, he frequently came under attack from the press, from his peers (future Forum topper Ulrich Gregor was a particular critic) and, occasionally, from his own selection committees.

After one especially dismal year, in 1964, which saw a number of significant films rejected — including Jean-Luc Godard’s “Bande a part” (Band of Outsiders) — and some poisonous notices in the press, Bauer announced a “10-point plan” to reinvigorate the festival. It included bringing a younger generation of critics and cineastes into the programming fold, a move that helped ensure the fest’s continuing relevance and its embattled director’s survival.

While there were frustrations ahead (though diplomatic in public, Bauer was privately dismayed by the 1970 decision to split the festival between the Competition and the Intl. Forum of New Cinema), his steady hand achieved funding stability, programming autonomy and growing worldwide renown for the Berlinale.

When he handed it over to his successor, Wolf Donner, in 1977, the event had managed, against considerable odds, to carve out a place alongside Cannes and Venice.

Bauer died in October 1986. His name lives on in the Alfred Bauer Prize, awarded at each Berlinale to a film that “opens new perspectives in the art of filmmaking.” Just as its namesake would have wished.

More Film

  • Quentin Tarantino

    Quentin Tarantino Documentary 'QT8: The First Eight' Scores Sales (EXCLUSIVE)

    Wood Entertainment has completed sales for France, Germany, Turkey, Italy and Russia for “QT8: The First Eight,” a documentary that chronicles Quentin Tarantino’s first eight films. The first buyers’ screening took place on Sunday at the Cannes Film Festival. Tarantino’s ninth film, “Once Upon a Time in Hollywood,” premiered at Cannes on Tuesday night. Producer [...]

  • 'Asbury Park' Doc Covers Bruce Springsteen,

    Film Review: 'Asbury Park: Riot, Redemption, Rock 'N Roll'

    A civic Phoenix story is promised and effectively delivered in “Asbury Park: Riot, Redemption, Rock ‘N Roll,” even if there’s little doubt that what much of the audience will be hoping for from this documentary is Bruce, the whole Bruce and nothing but the Bruce. The film satisfies a good portion of that craving with [...]

  • Timothy Olyphant Once Upon a Time

    Timothy Olyphant Explains Why He Did 'Hitman' Movie

    The 2007 film adaptation of the “Hitman” video game franchise is … not good. It received a score of 15% on Rotten Tomatoes, with many critics panning its incoherent plot and terrible dialogue. So, why did actor Timothy Olyphant take on the lead role as Agent 47? He had a mortgage to pay, he told [...]

  • Daniel Craig

    Daniel Craig to Undergo Ankle Surgery After 'Bond 25' Injury

    Daniel Craig will undergo ankle surgery after sustaining an injury while filming “Bond 25.” “Daniel Craig will be undergoing minor ankle surgery resulting from an injury sustained during filming in Jamaica,” the franchise’s official Twitter account posted. “Production will continue whilst Craig is rehabilitating for two weeks post-surgery. The film remains on track for the [...]

  • Oh Mercy

    Cannes Film Review: 'Oh Mercy'

    It takes more than just watching “Oh Mercy” to understand exactly why Arnaud Desplechin was drawn to the subject matter of his latest movie, a reasonably engrossing police procedural with roots in a 2008 TV documentary. Something of an unexpected detour in the veteran director’s weighty career, the film combines multiple strands to paint a [...]

  • Spielberg's Amblin Chief Jeff Small on

    Listen: Spielberg's Amblin Chief on Making 'Movies in the Middle'

    With the sequel “A Dog’s Journey” now in theaters, Amblin Partners continues to find ways to release the kind of films that aren’t typical of what dominates American multiplexes these days. An follow-up to the 2017 surprise hit “A Dog’s Purpose,” “Journey” is just another example of the cinematic strategy evident at Amblin, the production [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content