Der österreichische Künstler, Autor und Regisseur Peter Patzak auf einem Archivfoto von 2012.
© HERBERT NEUBAUER
Vienna – The Austrian artist, author and director Peter Patzak, who achieved cult status not least with the crime series “Kottan determined”, is dead. He died yesterday Thursday at the age of 76 in Krems hospital. This ends a multi-layered artistic resume.
Patzak was born on January 2nd, 1945 as a real post-war child in Vienna. Growing up in the working class district of Brigittenau should have a lasting impact on both him and his long-time companion – the author Helmut Zenker – as Patzak once recalled in an ORF portrait. After graduating from school he studied psychology, art history and painting and had his first exhibition under Albert Paris Gütersloh, the spiritual father of the Vienna School of Fantastic Realism.
📽️ Video | Peter Patzak passed away
First short films from 1968 to 1970
And shortly afterwards, the first turn to film followed when Patzak was invited to the “Films of Art” show in New York in the mid-1960s. The first short films were made between 1968 and 1970. The way to the feature film was not far anymore.
The young filmmaker worked early on with prominent actresses, such as Rita Tushingham in the thriller “The Situation” (1972) or Paula Wessely, who played a supermarket cashier in front of Patzak’s camera in “Glückssache” (1977).
One of the most important cinema works by Patzak of that time was the neo-Nazi portrait “Kassbach” (1979), for which he received international recognition due to the clear confrontation with petty-bourgeois forms of racism, fascism and violence. After all, “Kassbach” is one of the favorite films of US director Martin Scorsese.
19 episodes “Kottan Determined”
At that time he was not yet aware that he would write a legendary figure and a piece of Austrian television history at the same time as Major Kottan, on whom he was working with Zenker. By 1983 he had made 19 episodes of the unusual crime series as well as the film “The world belongs to the capable” (1981). Finally, with “Kottan determined: Rien ne va plus” in 2010, Patzak heaved the cult commissioner back onto the screen.
But even if Peter Patzak will be remembered by many as the father of the cult figure Kottan, his oeuvre is infinitely broader. In the 80s, he was responsible for the movie “The Last Round (Strawanzer)” (1983) with Elliott Gould and the thriller “Joker” (1987) with Peter Maffay. With “Killing Blue” (1988), “Gavre Princip – Heaven under Stones” (1990) or “Burning Heart” (1995) he again attracted international attention.
For “Shanghai 1937” (1996) he received the “Prize of Russian Filmmakers” in Moscow and was honored with the Max Ophüls Prize in the same year. For the Doderer film “The Slunj Waterfalls” there was a prize in Venice and the popular education prize. Since 1993 he has also taught directing as a full professor at the Vienna Film Academy, which he also headed as the institute’s director. And yet at this time there was a break with television, which Patzak believed he had simply forgotten.
This was another driving force to turn more towards the stage. In 2007, Patzak staged Theo van Gogh’s “Interview” in the Walfischgasse municipal theater for the first time for the stage. Above all, however, painting moved back to a central position in the work of the busy people. Since the 1960s, Patzak had always pursued the art of painting parallel to his cinematic work and had exhibitions around the world. But now the medium became even more important to him. The Bank Austria Kunstforum dedicated a belated birthday exhibition to him in September under the title “From the Archive of Remembrance”.
The artist’s life’s work had also been honored in other ways. On his 65th birthday, the jack-of-all-trades, who also wrote short stories and scripts, received the Great Silver Medal for Services to the Republic of Austria. It was only last year that the Golden Decoration of Honor for services to the State of Vienna was added here. (APA)