VOLKER SCHLöNDORFF (born 31 March 1939) is a German filmmaker who
has worked in Germany, France and the United States. He was a
prominent member of the
New German Cinema of the late 1960s and early
1970s, which also included
Werner Herzog ,
Wim Wenders , Margarethe
von Trotta and
Rainer Werner Fassbinder
* 1 Early life * 2 Early film career * 3 International success as a filmmaker * 4 Hollywood and later career * 5 Personal life
* 6 Filmography
* 6.1 Features * 6.2 TV Movies * 6.3 Documentaries and shorts subjects
* 7 Awards * 8 Cultural References * 9 See also * 10 References * 11 Further reading * 12 External links
EARLY FILM CAREER
Schlöndorff returned to
The New German Cinema movement unofficially began in 1962 with the Oberhausen Manifesto , calling new young German filmmakers to revitalize filmmaking in Germany, much like the French New Wave and British New Wave of the previous few years. Although not among the initial group of filmmakers involved, Schlöndorff was quick to align himself with the group and Young Törless is considered one of the most important films of the New German Cinema .
Schlöndorff's next film was
A Degree of Murder , a counter-culture
saturated film with a musical score by
He then made another film that spoke to the counter culture generation, Michael Kohlhaas - Der Rebell . Set in medieval Germany, Michael Kohlhaas is a horse trader who has been cheated by a local nobleman and nearly starts a revolution to get revenge. The film starred David Warner , Anna Karina and Anita Pallenberg and was made in both German and English versions.
Schlöndorff then adapted
The Morals of Ruth Halbfass (de) examined a group of people who have lost their sense of morals and co-starred von Trotta. Von Trotta would both star in and co-write Schlöndorff's next film, A Free Woman. The film took a feminist look at the condition of modern women in Munich. von Trotta portrays Elizabeth Junker, a recently divorced woman who must struggle to live her life independently as her husband has everything come easily to him, including the villa and son that they had shared together as a married couple. The film is loosely based on von Trotta's experiences with her divorce from her first husband.
Schlöndorff then completed the TV movie Übernachtung in Tirol in
1974, an adaptation of the
INTERNATIONAL SUCCESS AS A FILMMAKER
Schlöndorff (and the
New German Cinema movement as a whole) had his
first financial hit film with
The Lost Honor of Katharina Blum in
1975. Based on the novel of the same name by Nobel Prize winning
Heinrich Böll , Schlöndorff both co-wrote and
co-directed the film with
Margarethe von Trotta in her directorial
debut. The film stars
Angela Winkler as Blum, who after falling in
love and spending the night with a young army deserter becomes the
victim of a corrupt police investigation and predatory tabloid
newspaper, which cast her as both a terrorist and a prostitute. The
newspaper is based upon the real right-wing German tabloid
After directing his second opera
We Come to the River in 1976,
The Lost Honor of Katharina Blum with the
equally political Coup de Grâce in 1976. Based on a novel by French
Marguerite Yourcenar , the film stars von Trotta (who again
co-wrote the script) as Sophie von Reval, a young left-wing aristocrat
who sides with the
A supporting actress in Coup de Grâce was Valeska Gert, a former cabaret dancer, circus performer and silent film actress who had worked with Greta Garbo and G. W. Pabst . This led to the documentary about her life Just for Fun, Just for Play in 1977.
Schlöndorff then contributed to the omnibus film
Schlöndorff's next film was the most successful and ambitious of his career, and perhaps the most important film of post-war Germany: The Tin Drum , released in 1979. The film was based on the novel by Nobel Prize winning author Günter Grass , who for years had rejected proposed adaptations of his book until giving Schlöndorff his approval (and assistance) to make the film.
The Tin Drum stars
David Bennent as the protagonist Oscar Matzerath,
who, after receiving a tin drum on his third birthday, makes the
conscious choice to stop growing and remain a three-year-old for the
rest of his life. He hurls himself down a flight of stairs so as to
give the adults around him a rational explanation for his handicap,
and later discovers that he has the ability to tactically shatter
glass with the power of his high-pitch scream, which he evokes
whenever anyone attempts to take his tin drum away from him. The film
Angela Winkler as Oscar's mother and
Mario Adorf and Daniel
Olbrychski as the German and Kashubian (Pole) who may both be his
biological fathers. The film mostly takes place from the end of World
War I to the end of
World War II
In 1980 Schlöndorff collaborated with
Schlöndorff next made The Circle of Deceit in 1981. Based on the novel by Nicolas Born , the film concerns the politics and moral struggles of war photographers. The film stars Bruno Ganz and Jerzy Skolimowski as photojournalists covering the Lebanon Civil War in Beirut in 1975.
HOLLYWOOD AND LATER CAREER
Schlöndorff's first English language film was Swann in Love (1984),
an adaptation of the first two volumes of
Schlöndorff then went to the United States to make a TV adaptation
Arthur Miller 's Death of a Salesman , starring
Schlöndorff followed this with another TV Movie in the US, A Gathering of Old Men , based on the novel of the same name by Ernest J. Gaines . The film stars Richard Widmark , Holly Hunter and Lou Gossett Jr. and concerns racial discrimination in 1970s Louisiana.
Schlöndorff returned to theatrical films with the Hollywood science
fiction film The Handmaid\'s Tale in 1990. The film's story takes
place in a dystopia near future where most women are sterile due to
pollution. Kate (
Natasha Richardson ) is arrested after attempting to
flee to Canada and forced to become a "Handmaid". Handmaids are
fertile women who are enslaved by the state and put in the households
of wealthy men - who have "ceremonial" sex with them in the hope of
conceiving a child. She becomes the Handmaid of the Commander (Robert
Duvall ), Fred, who is married to Serena Joy (
This was quickly followed by Voyager in 1991. The film stars Sam Shepard as a man who survives a plane crash, then finds the love of his life ( Julie Delpy ) on his next trip and begins to question the rationale of his good luck after having spent most of his life being cruel to others. The film was based on the novel Homo Faber by Max Frisch and was not a success financially.
In 1992 he directed the concert film
The Michael Nyman Songbook ,
then made the first of his two documentaries on famous director Billy
Wilder , Billy Wilder, How Did You Do It? , in which he and German
critic Hellmut Karasek interviewed Wilder about his career over the
course of two weeks in 1988. It was aired on German TV in 1992, and
shown on TCM in the USA under the title
Appalled at plans of destroying the historic film studios Babelsberg , Schlöndorff mounted a one-man campaign to save them in the early 1990s. He served as the chief executive for the UFA studio in Babelsberg between 1992 and 1997. During that time, he helped Jiang Wen finish editing his 1994 film In the Heat of the Sun in Germany, with the studio’s full financial support. He also helped to get the film selected for the 51st Venice International Film Festival .
In 1996 he contributed to the French TV series Lumière sur un massacre with the episode "Le parfait soldat".
Schlöndorff returned to
Schlöndorff returned to Hollywood for the
Neo-noir Palmetto in 1998.
In a classic noir plot, the film stars
Woody Harrelson as a falsely
accused journalist who was sent to jail after uncovering corruption in
the local government. After getting out of jail and unable to find
work, he encounters Rhea Malroux (
Elisabeth Shue ), a femme fatale who
propositions him to help her extort money from her millionaire
husband. The film was not a financial success and has so far been
Schlöndorff's last film in the US.
Schlöndorff returned to
After the documentary Ein Produzent hat Seele oder er hat keine and a
contribution to the omnibus film
Ten Minutes Older (both in 2002),
The Ninth Day in 2004. The film is Schlöndorff's
third film to center around the
World War II
Schlöndorff then completed the TV Movie Enigma - Eine
uneingestandene Liebe in 2005. In 2006 he returned to the city of
Ulzhan (2007) stars
Philippe Torreton as a treasure
hunter on his way home who has lost his soul and Ayanat Ksenbai as
Ulzhan, the woman who falls in love with him.
David Bennent also
co-starred. In the summer of 2012, he worked with Andrew Turner, who
had formerly been a runway model for the late
Alexander McQueen .
World War II
Schlöndorff was married to fellow film director Margarethe von Trotta from 1971 to 1991 and helped raise her son from her first marriage. He is currently married to Angelika Schlöndorff, and the couple has one daughter.
He formed a production company that produced both his and von Trotta's films, Bioskop.
In 1991, he was the Head of the Jury at the 41st Berlin International Film Festival .
* 1966 Young Törless * 1967 A Degree of Murder * 1969 Michael Kohlhaas - Der Rebell * 1971 The Morals of Ruth Halbfass (de) * 1972 A Free Woman * 1975 The Lost Honor of Katharina Blum * 1976 Coup de Grâce * 1979 The Tin Drum * 1981 The Circle of Deceit * 1984 Swann in Love * 1990 The Handmaid\'s Tale * 1991 Voyager * 1996 The Ogre * 1998 Palmetto * 2000 The Legend of Rita * 2004 The Ninth Day * 2006 Strike * 2007 Ulzhan * 2012 Calm at Sea * 2014 Diplomacy * 2017 Return to Montauk
* 1970 Baal * 1970 The Sudden Wealth of the Poor People of Kombach (de) * 1974 Übernachtung in Tirol * 1985 Death of a Salesman * 1987 A Gathering of Old Men * 2005 Enigma - Eine uneingestandene Liebe
DOCUMENTARIES AND SHORTS SUBJECTS
* 1960 Who cares? (short)
* 1963 Méditerranée (documentary)
* 1967 Der Paukenspieler (segment "Unheimlicher Moment, Ein")
* 1975 The Novels of
* Good Bye Schlöndorff, a performance by Lebanese artist and musician Waël Koudaih alias Rayess Bek based on extracts of Die Fälschung and audio tapes from the Lebanese Civil War .
* Moeller, Hans Bernhard and George Lellis, Volker Schlöndorff's Cinema: Adaptation, Politics and the "Movie Appropriate" . Carbondale: Southern Illinois University Press, 2002.
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