DOK Leipzig mourns the loss of Peter Voigt
I am interested, or rather fascinated, in the phenomenon of time. Not in the sense of the "old times", but the fact that something once existed that isnt't there anymore. So it's not the past that interests me - it's transience. I think this is, more or less, my access to the things you call history.
(1993, Der DEFA-Komplex / part 12)
Peter Voigt (26/5/1933 – 12/03/2015)
Peter Voigt was a student of Brecht who began his career at the Leipzig Theatre in the 1950s, before moving to the Berliner Ensemble, cartoon and television, finally working at Heynowski & Scheumann, and later at the DEFA Documentary Film Studio. He was one of the most important German filmmakers and yet little was known of his work until his late discovery in specialist circles two years ago. As part of a highly acclaimed hommage at DOK Leipzig 2013, the work of Peter Voigt was presented for the first time to a large audience. He also spoke in a masterclass about his artistic career and his documentary method.
"A secret tip amongst the plentiful offers of the festival unexpectedly became an absolute highlight, very well attended. Finally, the 80-year-old has found international recognition."
(Günter Agde, “Neues Deutschland”, 04/11/2013)
As a Brecht student, Voigt contextualised his artistic work in the lineage of Godard, Straub and Besson – “people who have passed through Brecht." His subject-matter was that which humans leave behind, the apparently casual, the everyday, which he ordered anew. By re-contextualising things, he challenged the audience, often to unsettling or surprising effect. His carefully crafted, always poetic commentaries, which reduced arbitrary phrases or forms of pathos to absurdities, constitute a unique quality rarely reached in documentary film.
Until his death, he worked on refurbishing the cinematic estate of Bertold Brecht on behalf of the “Akademie der Künste”.
Peter Voigt leaves behind a legacy that refuses the classical techniques of the documentary genre, intentionally sabotages the comfort of selective vision, and thus represents an irreplaceable artistic engagement with our genre.
"Voigt's films remain a dialectical challenge, a cinematic experience that is both pleasurable and demanding." (Günter Agde)