Despite a charge of child pornography by one of the leading actors, the film ‘Corsage’ remains in the running as an Austrian candidate for the Oscar for best foreign film. This is what the trade association of the Austrian film and music industry says in a press release from the public broadcaster ORF on Sunday.
Earlier this week it was announced that Florian Teichtmeister, who plays the role of Emperor Franz Joseph in the film, will stand trial in February for possession of child pornography. The 43-year-old actor will plead guilty, AFP news agency reports. But according to the Austrian trade association, the charge should be disconnected from the artistic achievement of the director and the film.
‘Corsage’ is – just like the Belgian/Dutch entry ‘Close’ by Lukas Dhont – in the list of fifteen foreign-language films from which the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences chooses five nominations on 24 January, which have a chance to win the Oscar for best foreign film. And that will remain the case, the trade association has decided in consultation with the director and producers.
“Teichtmeister is not ‘Corsage’, and his person should be clearly separated from the excellent artistic achievement of the director Marie Kreutzer and the film itself,” said Alexander Dumreicher-Ivanceanu of the Austrian trade union. The trade union also notes that it condemns any form of sexual abuse.
“Film tarnished and damaged”
The producers of ‘Corsage’, Johanna Scherz and Alexander Glehr, say that the shooting took place before the first rumors emerged in the fall of 2021. Teichtmeister would have assured them then that the rumors were false. Director Marie Kreutzer is “sad and furious that a feminist film, on which more than 300 people from all over Europe have worked for years, has been so tarnished and damaged by the horrific actions of one person”. However, what makes her “even more saddened and furious” is “the extent to which videos and photos of sexual violence against children are being produced, disseminated and consumed”.
The Austrian public broadcaster ORF, which partly financed the film, has decided not to broadcast the film for the time being. It also “immediately refrains from producing and broadcasting works with Teichtmeister,” the press release reads. According to ORF, the cinema chain Cineplexx, which operates 400 cinemas in twelve countries, has removed the film from its program. The Austrian national theater Burgtheater, of which the actor is a member, has fired Teichtmeister.
On Friday, Teichtmeister’s lawyer announced that his client is accused of possessing a large amount of child pornography material, in the period from February 2008 to August 2021. It would concern more than 50,000 images and videos. Teichtmeister will plead guilty at the February 8 trial in Vienna. He faces up to two years in prison.
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