Austrian film ‘Corsage’ under shadow of actor’s child pornography trial

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One of the main backers of “Corsage,” an award-winning Austrian film bidding for Oscars glory, on Sunday distanced itself from one its main actors after he was charged with possessing child pornography.

State television channel ORF said it would neither produce nor broadcast films by Florian Teichtmeister, who plays the Emperor Franz-Joseph in the movie.

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“Corsage,” about the 19th-century Austro-Hungarian Empress Elisabeth and her turbulent marriage to the emperor, has already won several awards at international film festivals and has been a box office success.

It is one of the 15 productions under consideration for the Academy Award for best international feature film.

But on Friday a lawyer for 43-year-old Teichtmeister announced that he had been charged and that his client would be pleading guilty at his trial in February.

Austria’s cinematography association, which had put “Corsage” up for its Oscar candidacy, said it would stand by that decision, arguing that people needed to distinguish between the film and the actor.

The film’s director and screenwriter Marie Kreutzer said she was “saddened and angry that a feminist film... should be so sullied and damaged by the horrible actions of a single person.”

The Oscars jury will narrow the 15-strong list down to five before the ceremony on March 12.

Austria’s national theatre, the Burgtheater, announced it had fired Teichtmeister with immediate effect.

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