Directed by Volker Schlöndorff

Directed by Volker Schlöndorff

7 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.

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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

    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 journalist...

  • 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...

  • Swann in Love

    Episode 7

    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...