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Oldenburg Film Festival will honor Canadian filmmaker and producer Ted Kotcheff with a retrospective

© 2002 Filmbild Fundus Herbert Klemens

The 80-years old Canadian director Ted Kotcheff is best known for his worldwide success of „First Blood“, though his body work consists of a diverse yet coherent creation spanning nearly six decades. He is an uncompromising chronicler of moral outsider stories.

“I’m not the judge of my characters; I am their best witness.”

This personal credo of internationally acclaimed director Ted Kotcheff – a maverick of the moral ‘outback’- resonates throughout his nearly 6-decades spanning and ongoing body of cinematic work as a director. Inherently weaving through the varied terrains of genres of drama, comedy, and action, is Kotcheff’s unapologetic exposure of an individual or country’s myths, but with an ever-present awareness of and deference to his role as an empathetically observant ‘outsider’.

Not unlike his lifelong friend, acclaimed and controversial novelist Mordecai Richler (with whom he collaborated on three of his films), Ted Kotcheff’s films purposely punctured the sensitivity of provincial sensibilities with their caustic wit and astute observation of moral ambiguity and importantly- life unexamined.

Considered his finest film to date, ‘Wake in Fright’  was so controversial upon its 1971 release that the beginning of the ‘Australian Renaissance’ of the film industry has been attributed to Kotcheff’s film which is credited by Australian cinema greats such as Peter Weir, Fred Schepisi, and Bruce Beresford as their ‘inspiration’ that great cinema could be made Down Under. That an ‘outsider’ could capture the essence and character of a foreign land with such verisimilitude and authenticity is attributed to his commonwealth country claim of empathy as a Canadian who also understood that “the vast empty spaces don’t ‘liberate’, they imprison”. “Wake in Fright” was last shown at the Museum of Modern Art in New York in honor of Kotcheff’s 80th birthday.

The Oldenburg retrospective presents „Wake in Fright“ and five other works by Kotcheff. The programming will include the comedy „The Apprenticeship of Duddy Kravitz“ starring Richard Dreyfuss. For this film Kotcheff received the Golden Bear at the 1974 Berlinale, the first time such an award went to a Canadian director. His 1978 film „Who is killing the Great Chefs of Europe?“ was nominated for several Golden Globes and is considered a cult classic. „Life at the Top“ from 1965, his worldwide hit „First Blood“ from 1982, and „Joshua Then and Now“, a second collaboration with Mordecai Richler that was nominated for Cannes’ Golden Palm Award in 1985, round off the retrospective.

Ted Kotcheff will attend the festival from September 14th to 18th.

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