Volker Schlöndorff

31.03.1939, Wiesbaden, Njemačka

Distinctions of his work are the analytical and psychological characterization of his personage, as well as the modernist way of directing.


Schlöndorff is a German director, screenwriter and producer. He graduated in political science from the Sorbonne and at the same time studied film at the Institut des Hautes Etudes Cinematographiques. He honed his craft as assistant director to Louis Malle, Alain Resnais and Jean-Pierre Melville. In early 1960’s he directed several projects for the French television and then returned to Germany and joined the movement of the New German film. He won awards for his first feature film Der junge Törless (1966) – the FIPRESCI award in Cannes and awards for best director, screenplay and feature film at the German Film Awards in 1966. He is famous for adapting literary themes (Günther Grass, Heinrich Böll, Arthur Miller, Marcel Proust). In 1969, together with Peter Fleischmann he started the production company Hallelujah Film that from 1974 produced his films. In 1970, he directed the TV film Baal (1970) starring Rainer Werner Fassbinder. Margarethe von Trotta, actress and future screenwriter and director who also became his wife and collaborator, appeared in this film as well. Together they adapted and directed the crime drama Lost Honor of Katherina Blum (Die verlorene Ehre der Katharina Blum, 1975). Schlöndorff then directed the war drama Der Fangschuß (1976), and achieved his biggest success with the The Tin Drum (Die Blechtrommel, 1979), adaptation of Günter Grass’ novelthat won many film awards. After the war drama Die Fälschung (1981), he directed several films with international actors such as Un amour de Swann (1984), The Handmaid's Tale (1990), Homo Faber (1991), Der Unhold (1996) and Palmetto (1998). He successfully directed the TV adaptation of the play Death of a Salesman (1985), starring Dustin Hoffman and John Malkovich. Some of his last films include the romantic drama Die Stille nach dem Schuß (2000), war dramas Der neunte Tag (2000) and Calm at Sea (La mer à l'aube, 2011) and the historical drama Diplomacy (Diplomatie, 2014).


The Handmaid's Tale (1990)
Death of a Salesman (1985)
Un amour de Swann (1984)
Krieg und Frieden (1983)
Die Fälschung (1981)
Der Kandidat (1980)
Die Blechtrommel (1979)
Deutschland im Herbst (1978)
Nur zum Spaß, nur zum Spiel (1977)
Der Fangschuß (1976)
Lost Honor of Katherina Blum (Die Verlorene Ehre der Katharina Blum oder: Wie Gewalt entstehen und wohin sie führen kann, 1975)
Die Moral der Ruth Halbfass (1972)
Michael Kohlhaas - der Rebell (1969)
Der Paukenspieler (1967) (segment Ein unheimlicher Moment)
Mord und Todschlag (1967)
Der Junge Törless (1966)

Films by this director

Morals of Ruth Halbfass

(Die Moral der Ruth Halbfass, 1972.)

Directed by: Volker Schlöndorff

Ruth Halbfass is the wife of a wealthy factory owner. The husband, blinded with the luxury of his house with a swimming pool, does not notice that his wife is cheating on him with their daughter’s art teacher. Even though the daughter is aware of her mother’s adultery she is in a phase when such things do not bother her. Soon the art teacher hires murderers to help him get rid of the problematic husband; however that is only the beginning of strange events that will lead to a surprising ending.

color, 89 min

The Tin Drum

(Die Blechtrommel, West Germany, France, Poland, 1979)

Directed by: Volker Schlöndorff

color, 142'

Young Torless

(Der junge Törless, Germany, 1966)

Directed by: Volker Schlöndorff

This is the first feature film by the director Volker Schlöndorff and the film adaptation of Robert Musil’s novel. The story takes place in an Austrian military school at the beginning of the 20th century. The main character is Thomas Törless, a young man who witnessed a sadistic abuse of one of the students by two of Thomas’ friends. The director won the critics’ award at the Cannes Film Festival in 1966.

digital, b/w, 87 min
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