German filmmaker Vilsmaier, known for ‘Stalingrad,’ dies

U.S. & World

FILE – In this Friday, Jan. 19, 2007 file photo German movie producer Joseph Vilsmaier attends the awarding ceremony of the Bavarian Movie Award at the Prinzregententheater in Munich, Germany. German filmmaker Joseph Vilsmaier, whose striking portrayal of the Battle of Stalingrad brought home the horrors of war to a new generation, has died. His agent confirmed Wednesday that Vilsmaier ‘died peacefully at his home’ in Bavaria on Tuesday at the age of 81. (AP Photo/Christof Stache, file)

This is an archived article and the information in the article may be outdated. Please look at the time stamp on the story to see when it was last updated.

BERLIN (AP) — Joseph Vilsmaier, a German filmmaker whose striking portrayal of the Battle of Stalingrad brought home the horrors of war to a new generation, has died. He was 81.

His agent confirmed Wednesday that Vilsmaier “died peacefully at his home” in Bavaria on Tuesday.

Vilsmaier’s 1993 film “Stalingrad” painted a grim picture of the fate of a group of Wehrmacht soldiers sent to the eastern front in 1942 to fight what would become a losing battle against the Soviet Army. The months-long siege of the city, now known as Volgograd, cost the lives of millions of soldiers and civilians and marked a turning point for Nazi Germany in World War II.

Born in Munich in 1939, Vilsmaier studied music and worked as a technician before gaining a foothold in the film business in the early 1960s as a runner and later making a name for himself as a cameraman for German television.

Vilsmaier made his debut as a film director in 1988 with “Herbstmilch,” or “Autumn Milk,” the story of a Bavarian peasant woman that became a box office hit in Germany. Many of his films focused on tumultuous periods in German history, often from the perspective of ordinary people. A notable exception was “Marlene,” Vilsmaier’s 2000 film about the life of actress and singer Marlene Dietrich.

Germany’s minister for culture, Monika Gruetters, praised Vilsmaier as a “passionate artist” who managed to convey “complex, historical topics” to audiences of millions.

Vilsmaier is survived by three daughters, Janina, Theresa and Josephina. His second wife, Czech actress and director Dana Vávrová, died in 2009.

Copyright 2020 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

CBS47 On Your Side

Do you have a problem that you need help solving? Contact CBS47 and let us be On Your Side.

Phone: 559-761-0383

Images from Armenia

Small patients in Armenia
Yerevan by night.
Dr. Jeff Thomas delivers.
Dr. Jeff Thomas delivers in Gyumri.
Doctors unpack medical supplies from The Central Valley.
Fresno Medical Mission at work.
Medical Supplies being unloaded.
Fresno Medical Mission at the ready.
KSEE24 crew witnesses the miracle of life in Gyumri, Armenia.
Life saving work of Central Valley surgeons in Armenia.
Ribbon cutting on new surgical center in Ashtarak Armenia. Fresno donors made this dream come true.
KSEE24 on assignment with the Fresno Medical Mission
Honorary Consulate to Armenia Berj Apkarian explains the crisis facing one hospital.
KSEE24's Stefani Booroojian and Kevin Mahan at the meeting with President Bako Sahakyan.
Medical Meeting in Artsakh.
The President of Artsakh meets with the Fresno Medical Mission.
Learning modern medicine techniques with the Fresno Medical Mission in surgery.
Leaning in for a look. Dr. Brien Tonkinson holds class and helps a patient in Armenia.
Fresno Medical Mission cares on one of the smallest patients in the region. Six-year old Yanna receives life-changing better breathing surgery.