Volker Schlöndorff


Director
Volker Schlöndorff

About

Also Known As
Volker Schloendorff
Birth Place
Germany
Born
March 31, 1939

Biography

Volker Schlondorff is one of the major directors of the New German Cinema, the group of filmmakers who, in the late 1960s and early 70s, revitalized a moribund German film culture. He studied at the Institut des Hautes Etudes Cinematographiques in Paris in the late 1950s and, between 1960 and 1964, worked as an assistant to directors including Louis Malle, Alain Resnais and Jean-Pierre M...

Family & Companions

Margarethe Von Trotta
Wife
Director, actor. Married in 1969; divorced.
Angelika Schlondorff
Wife

Biography

Volker Schlondorff is one of the major directors of the New German Cinema, the group of filmmakers who, in the late 1960s and early 70s, revitalized a moribund German film culture. He studied at the Institut des Hautes Etudes Cinematographiques in Paris in the late 1950s and, between 1960 and 1964, worked as an assistant to directors including Louis Malle, Alain Resnais and Jean-Pierre Melville.Schlondorff's first feature, "Young Torless" (1966), based on a classic novel by Robert Musil about coming of age in an elite Austrian military academy, is considered a milestone of the New German cinema. Greeted with critical acclaim at a number of international film festivals, it also gained a small but devoted popular following at home. It was the first of many literary adaptations by the director, evincing a continuing predilection for highly structured narrative films with a leftist political perspective, directed at a mass audience.Schlondorff's next two films, "A Degree of Murder" (1967), starring Anita Pallenberg with a score by Brian Jones of the Rolling Stones, and "Michael Kohlhaas" (1969), based on a novella by Heinrich von Kleist, were both action dramas that were critical and box-office failures. His 1969 adaptation of Brecht's "Baal" (1969), starring Rainer Werner Fassbinder, and "The Sudden Wealth of the Poor People of Kombach" (1970), his best film since "Torless" and one of the few not adapted from a literary source, fared better with the critics. During this period, he married a young actress who had appeared in both films, Margarethe von Trotta, forming a fruitful writer-director collaboration which would last until von Trotta began directing her own films in 1977.The von Trotta-Schlondorff collaboration produced the director's best films of the early and mid-1970s: "A Free Woman" (1972), an ironic feminist commentary on divorce; "The Lost Honor of Katharina Blum" (1975), adapted from Heinrich Boll's bestseller about a woman falsely accused of terrorism; and "Coup de Grace" (1976), based upon a 1936 Marguerite Yourcenar novel concerning the radicalization of a young aristocratic woman during the revolutionary period following WWII.Schlondorff's best known, and most successful, work to date is his 1979 adaptation of Gunter Grass's "The Tin Drum," a rollicking account of the rise of fascism as seen through the eyes of a boy who literally and figuratively refuses to grow up. "Katharina Blum" and "Tin Drum" became two of the most financially successful German films ever made, with the latter winning the Academy Award for best foreign film.Although Schlondorff lacks the innovative skill or visionary power of such colleagues as Fassbinder, Kluge, Wenders and Herzog, he has, unlike them, adapted well to the international film market and to working in the US. His 1985 adaptation for American TV of "Death of a Salesman" (CBS), starring Dustin Hoffman, was well-received and earned the director an Emmy nomination. His adaptation of Margaret Atwood's futurist/feminist parable, "The Handmaid's Tale" (1990), featured an all-star cast and a screenplay by Harold Pinter, but failed to find an audience.Schlondorff returned to Berlin in the early 90s and concentrated his efforts on the renovation and restoration of the city's fabled Babelsburg Studio (where "Metropolis" and "The Blue Angel" were filmed). After helming the unsuccessful "The Ogre" at Babelsburg, the director returned to the USA. In part, he was developing the noirish "Palmetto" (1998) but there were concerns over a case in Oklahoma City involving "The Tin Drum." Because of stringent local child pornography ordinances, video copies of the Oscar-winning film were seized because of one scene of simulated oral sex involving its protagonist. The matter remains before the courts.

Filmography

 

Director (Feature Film)

Diplomacy (2014)
Director
Calm at Sea (2011)
Director
Ulzhan (2007)
Director
Strike (2006)
Director
The Ninth Day (2004)
Director
Legends of Rita (2000)
Director
Spotlights on a Massacre: 10 Films Against 100 Million Antipersonnel Land Mines (1999)
Director
Palmetto (1998)
Director
The Ogre (1996)
Director
Voyager (1991)
Director
The Handmaid's Tale (1990)
Director
A Gathering of Old Men (1987)
Director
Death of a Salesman (1985)
Director
Swann in Love (1984)
Director
Circle Of Deceit (1982)
Director
Krieg und Frieden (1982)
Director
Der Kandidat (1980)
Director
The Tin Drum (1979)
Director
Kaleidoskop: Valeska Gert, Nur zum Spass-nur zum Spiel (1979)
Director
Deutschland im Herbst (1978)
Director
An Act Of Mercy (1976)
Director
Der Fangschu? (1976)
Director
Coup De Grace (1976)
Director
The Lost Honor of Katharina Blum (1975)
Director
Strohfeuer (1972)
Director
The Sudden Wealth of the Poor People of Kombach (1971)
Director
Die Moral der Ruth Halbfass (1971)
Director
Michael Kohlhaas - Der Rebell (1969)
Director

Cast (Feature Film)

Words In Progress (2004)
Himself
The Night of the Film-Makers (1995)
Himself
Der Kinoerzaehler (1993)
Cameo Appearance
Ich Will Nicht Nur, Dass Ihr Mich Liebt (1993)
Himself

Writer (Feature Film)

Calm at Sea (2011)
Writer
Ulzhan (2007)
Screenplay
Legends of Rita (2000)
Screenwriter
The Ogre (1996)
Screenplay
Voyager (1991)
Screenwriter
Swann in Love (1984)
Screenplay
Circle Of Deceit (1982)
Screenwriter
Kaleidoskop: Valeska Gert, Nur zum Spass-nur zum Spiel (1979)
Screenwriter
The Tin Drum (1979)
Screenwriter
The Lost Honor of Katharina Blum (1975)
Screenwriter
Strohfeuer (1972)
Screenwriter
Die Moral der Ruth Halbfass (1971)
Screenwriter
The Sudden Wealth of the Poor People of Kombach (1971)
Screenplay
Michael Kohlhaas - Der Rebell (1969)
Screenplay

Producer (Feature Film)

Kaleidoskop: Valeska Gert, Nur zum Spass-nur zum Spiel (1979)
Producer
An Act Of Mercy (1976)
Producer

Misc. Crew (Feature Film)

The Night of the Film-Makers (1995)
Other
Ich Will Nicht Nur, Dass Ihr Mich Liebt (1993)
Other
Vermischte Nachrichten (1986)
Other
Rio das Mortes (1970)
Other

Cast (Special)

Private Conversations: The Making of the Television Adaptation of "Death of a Salesman" With Dustin Hoffman (1985)

Producer (Special)

Ice Princess (1996)
Executive Producer

Life Events

1956

Moved with family to Paris

1960

First film as assistant director, "Zazie dans le Metro"

1960

Made first short film, "Who Cares?"

1965

Returned to Germany

1966

Directed first feature, "Young Torless"; earned an Oscar nomination as Best Foreign-Language Film

1969

Co-wrote and directed "Michael Kohlhaas"

1972

With Margarethe von Trotta, co-wrote "A Free Woman"; also directed

1975

Co-directed and co-wrote (with von Trotta), "Die verlorene Ehre der Katharina Blum/The Lost Honor of Katherina Blum"

1976

Helmed an adaptation of Marguerite Yourcenar's novel "Coup de Grace"

1977

Directed a 60-minute interview with actress Valeska Gert, "Nur zum Spass--nur zum Spiel"

1979

Had biggest international success with "The Tin Drum"; first German film to receive the Academy Award as Best Foreign Language Film

1984

Helmed "Swann in Love", adapted from Proust's "A la recherche du temps perdu"

1985

Directed Dustin Hoffman in a TV production of "Death of a Salesman" (CBS), earned an Emmy nomination as Best Director

1987

Helmed second American TV-movie "A Gathering of Old Men" (CBS)

1989

American directorial debut. "The Handmaid's Tale", scripted by Harold Pinter

1990

Returned to live in Berlin

1992

First feature in three years, "Voyager"

1996

Helmed "The Ogre" at Babelsberg Studios

1997

Returned to the USA in part because of a case in Oklhoma involving the censorship of the video version of "The Tin Drum"; because of one scene of simulated oral sex, film was found in violation of local child pornagraphy ordinances; those who rented the film had the copies retrieved by police

1998

Directed the noirish "Palmetto"

2000

Received praise for "The Legends of Rita", a film about a terrorist; screened at the Berlin Film Festival; released in the USA in 2001

2001

With Axel Geis, named joint chairman of the European Film Center

2004

Helmed the German film, "The Ninth Day"

2006

Helmed "Strike," a film about the beginning of the Solidarity movement in Poland

Videos

Movie Clip

Death Of A Salesman (1985) - He's Liked But He's Not Well-Liked Dustin Hoffman as title character Willy Loman, unaware of the conversation his grown sons Biff and Happy (John Malkovich, Stephen Lang) are having upstairs, musing himself into a recollection of a scene we suspect never happened, in the TV film of Arthur Miller’s Death Of A Salesman, 1985.
Death Of A Salesman (1985) - I'm The New England Man! Opening the acclaimed TV movie, directed by Volker Schlondorff from the successful 1984 Broadway revival, and closely overseen by the playwright Arthur Miller, Dustin Hoffman as Willy Loman, Kate Reid his wife Linda, home from an incomplete sales trip, in Death Of A Salesman, 1985.
Death Of A Salesman (1985) - If I'd Have Gone With Him To Alaska Not leveling with neighbor Charley (Charles Durning) about his job troubles, Dustin Hoffman as title character Willy Loman, losing himself in memories of his brother Ben (Louis Zorich), whom he presents to his wife and sons, (Kate Reid, John Malkovich, Stephen Lang), in the TV movie of Arthur Miller’s Death Of A Salesman, 1985.
Young Torless (1966) - Please Keep An Eye On My Son As specified in the novel, this takes place at a military school in Austria-Hungary around 1900, in what is now the Czech Republic, Matthieu Carriere the title character, Herbert Asmodi and Hanne Axmann-Rezzori his parents, in director Volker Schlondorff’s debut, Young Torless, 1966.
Young Torless (1966) - Blind Obedience Routine at the turn-of-the-20th century Austrian military school finds Matthieu Carriere (title character) struggling to adapt, and initial tensions between strapped Basini (Marian Seidowsky) and dominant Reiting (Alfred Deitz), in Volker Schlondorff’s acclaimed first feature, Young Torless, 1966.
Young Torless (1966) - She'll Think You're Afraid Barbara Steele, then best-known from gaudy British horror roles, is Bozena, single-mom prostitute welcoming early-20th century Austrian military school cadets, experienced Beineberg (Bernd Tischer) and novice Matthieu Carriere (title character) in Volker Schlondorff’s Young Torless, 1966.

Family

Georg Schlondorff
Father
Doctor.

Companions

Margarethe Von Trotta
Wife
Director, actor. Married in 1969; divorced.
Angelika Schlondorff
Wife

Bibliography