Bauer’s controversial past was revealed in an article in Die Zeit, which uncovered historical research suggesting that Bauer was both a member of the Nazi party and a member of the SA, the Nazis’ pre-war paramilitary wing. Bauer also appeared to be a key part of Goebbels’ Reichsfilmintendanz, a body established by the propaganda ministry in 1942 to control the cinema industry.
The revelation, coming just days before the opening of the 70th festival, is of huge embarrassment to the Berlinale, which has always held Bauer in high regard, naming one of its most important prizes after him in 1986, after Bauer’s death. The prize celebrates filmmakers who open up new perspectives in the art of cinematography.
The thing is, whatever other vilenesses Goebbels and his team committed – a lot of them too – they did open up new perspectives in the art of cinematography. They were masters at the use of it in propaganda for example. Leni and the Olympics is a masterwork, whatever else it is too.
Not that I disagree with the decision here, nor even the discomfort.