Saul Landau, investigative filmmaker, dies at 77

By Andrew Lapin

Saul Landau, a filmmaker who made investigative documentaries for PBS, died Sept. 9 from cancer. He was 77.

Landau’s death was announced by the Institute for Policy Studies, where he was a fellow for four decades. He made more than 40 films over his lifetime.

Landau specialized in reporting on Cuba and made numerous documentaries about the country and leader Fidel Castro for public TV. Castro himself invited Landau to make the 1969 film Fidel, which later aired on PBS.

In 1979 he co-directed and co-produced PBS’s Emmy- and Polk Award-winning Paul Jacobs and the Nuclear Gang with Jack Willis. The film chronicled journalist Paul Jacobs’ investigation of a government cover-up of health problems in Utah that stemmed from atomic-bomb testing in the 1950s. Landau also co-directed a narrative feature, 1970’s Que Hacer!, with celebrated Portuguese filmmaker Raul Ruiz. He was a prolific writer and taught at several universities.

Landau is survived by his wife, Rebecca Switzer; five children; seven grandchildren; and four great-grandchildren. IPS will host a memorial service Oct. 12 in Washington, D.C., and another in San Francisco on a later date to be determined.

Correction: Landau co-directed and co-produced Paul Jacobs and the Nuclear Gang with Jack Willis, not Haskell Wexler, as reported in an earlier version of this story. Wexler was one of the film’s cinematographers.
Please send obituary notices to lapin@current.org
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