Directed by Volker Schlöndorff

Directed by Volker Schlöndorff

14 Episodes

Though he would find himself at the forefront of the radical New German Cinema movement, Volker Schlöndorff got his training in France. Apprenticed to such trailblazers as Alain Resnais, Jean-Pierre Melville, and Louis Malle, he became fascinated by the possibilities of filmmaking as a political tool early in his career. His 1966 debut, YOUNG TÖRLESS, based on Robert Musil’s acclaimed novel, was not only the first of his many ambitious literary adaptations (often of challenging, supposedly “unfilmable” works), it was also something of a New German Cinema call to arms, a political allegory about Germany’s social history set in a boys’ boarding school at the turn of the twentieth century. More stinging commentaries on the state of Germany-then-and-now followed in the seventies: THE LOST HONOR OF KATHARINA BLUM (codirected with Margarethe von Trotta, Schlöndorff’s wife at the time), COUP DE GRÂCE, and his grandest success, the Oscar- and Palme d’or–winning THE TIN DRUM, a brilliant adaptation of Günter Grass’s metaphorical novel about the horrors of World War II. Continuing to delve into the traumas of the mid-twentieth century in late-career triumphs like THE OGRE and DIPLOMACY, Schlöndorff looks unflinchingly to the past in order to illuminate the present.

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Directed by Volker Schlöndorff
  • Volker on Volker

    Episode 1

    This interview with director Volker Schlöndorff was recorded in 2020.

  • Young Törless

    Episode 2

    Directed by Volker Schlöndorff • 1966 • France, West Germany
    Starring Mathieu Carrière, Marian Seidowsky, Bernd Tischer

    At an Austrian boys’ boarding school in the early 1900s, shy, intelligent Törless observes the sadistic behavior of his fellow students, doing nothing to help a victimized clas...

  • Baal
    1:24:03
    Episode 3

    Baal

    Episode 3

    Directed by Volker Schlöndorff • 1970 • West Germany

    Volker Schlöndorff transported Bertolt Brecht's 1918 debut play to contemporary West Germany for this vicious experiment in adaptation, seldom seen for nearly half a century. Oozing with brutish charisma, Rainer Werner Fassbinder embodies the ...

  • The Lost Honor of Katharina Blum

    Episode 4

    Directed by Volker Schlöndorff and Margarethe von Trotta • 1975 • Germany

    When Katharina Blum spends the night with an alleged terrorist, her quiet, ordered life falls into ruins. Suddenly a suspect, Katharina is subject to a vicious smear campaign by the police and a ruthless tabloid jou...

  • Coup de grâce

    Episode 5

    Directed by Volker Schlöndorff • 1976 • Germany
    Starring Margarethe von Trotta, Matthias Habich, Mathieu Carrière

    Latvia, 1919: the end of the Russian Civil War. An aristocratic young woman (brilliantly played by Margarethe von Trotta) becomes involved with a sexually repressed Prussian soldier....

  • The Tin Drum

    Episode 6

    Directed by Volker Schlöndorff • 1979 • Germany
    Starring David Bennent, Mario Adorf, Angela Winkler

    Oskar is born in Germany in 1924 with an advanced intellect. Repulsed by the hypocrisy of adults and the irresponsibility of society, he refuses to grow older after his third birthday. While the c...

  • Circle of Deceit

    Episode 7

    Directed by Volker Schlöndorff • 1981 • West Germany
    Starring Bruno Ganz, Hanna Schygulla, Jerzy Skolimowski

    Grateful for a respite from his imploding marriage, Hamburg newspaperman Georg (Bruno Ganz) arrives in Beirut to chronicle the bloody Lebanese Civil War. Inside a shell-pitted hotel, Geor...

  • Swann in Love

    Episode 8

    Directed by Volker Schlöndorff • 1984 • France
    Starring Jeremy Irons, Ornella Muti, Alain Delon

    Volker Schlöndorff’s sumptuous adaptation of the first volume of Marcel Proust’s “In Search of Lost Time” stars Jeremy Irons as the appropriately named Charles Swann, a beautiful bachelor, majestic in...

  • Death of a Salesman

    Episode 9

    Directed by Volker Schlöndorff • 1985 • United States
    Starring Dustin Hoffman, Kate Reid, John Malkovich

    Dustin Hoffman delivers a bravura performance in Volker Schlöndorff’s sterling adaptation of Arthur Miller’s classic drama about the limitations of the American dream. During the postwar boom...

  • The Handmaid’s Tale

    Episode 10

    Directed by Volker Schlöndorff • 1990 • United States
    Starring Natasha Richardson, Faye Dunaway, Aidan Quinn

    Adapted by Harold Pinter from the landmark novel by Margaret Atwood, the original screen adaptation of THE HANDMAID’S TALE takes place in an authoritarian future America where young, heal...

  • Voyager
    1:53:32
    Episode 11

    Voyager

    Episode 11

    Directed by Volker Schlöndorff • 1991 • Germany
    Starring Sam Shepard, Julie Delpy, Barbara Sukowa

    Volker Schlöndorff’s richly absorbing adaptation of Swiss writer Max Frisch’s celebrated novel “Homo Faber” follows the journey of Walter Faber (Sam Shepard), an American construction engineer whose...

  • The Ogre
    1:57:38
    Episode 12

    The Ogre

    Episode 12

    Directed by Volker Schlöndorff • 1996 • Germany
    Starring John Malkovich, Armin Mueller-Stahl, Gottfried John

    Having previously collaborated on their Oscar-winning adaptation of THE TIN DRUM, screenwriter Jean-Claude Carrière and director Volker Schlöndorff turned once again to the traumas of mid...

  • The Legend of Rita

    Episode 13

    Directed by Volker Schlöndorff • 2000 • Germany
    Starring Bibiana Beglau, Nadja Uhl, Martin Wuttke

    Volker Schlöndorff delves into the fractured political climate of 1970s East and West Germany in this remarkably nuanced historical drama. Rita Vogt (Bibiana Beglau) is a fugitive West German politi...

  • Diplomacy
    1:23:34
    Episode 14

    Diplomacy

    Episode 14

    Directed by Volker Schlöndorff • 2014 • France, Germany
    Starring André Dussollier, Niels Arestrup, Burghart Klaussner

    As the Allies march toward Paris in the summer of 1944, Hitler gives orders that the French capital should not fall into enemy hands, or if it does, then “only as a field of rubb...