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Volker Schlöndorff turns 70

"Light, Shadow and Movement. My Life and My Films"
Now we can also say Happy 70th Birthday to Volker Schlöndorff who was born on March 31, 1949 in Wiesbaden. In his recently published autobiography "Light, Shadow and Movement" he candidly describes the steadfast bond between his life and his work.

Schlöndorff`s career began in the early 1960s as an assistant to the then leading masters in France: Alain Resnais, Jean-Pierre Melville and Louis Malle. He made his first movie as early as 1966: YOUNG TÖRLESS is based on Robert Musil`s novel. In 1969 followed MICHAEL KOLHAAS and BAAL after Brecht. In the latter, Rainer Werner Fassbinder, director of the antiteater, played the lead role of the young and talented poet. In the film DER PLÖTZLICHE REICHTUM DER ARMEN LEUTE VON KOMBACH (Sudden Wealth of the Poor People of Kombach) (1970) RWF performs once more.

These early joint projects culminated in a mature venture that was the highpoint of their collaboration: GERMANY IN AUTUMN (1977). It was preceded by his film adaptation of Heinrich Böll`s novel THE LOST HONOR OF KATHARINA BLUM (1975), which was realized with his wife, Margarethe von Trotta.

The biggest chapter in his book is entitled "Trademark Tin Drum". With the aid of notes taken during production, he describes the long path to the Oscar. For Volker Schlöndorff THE TIN DRUM (1979) meant an international breakthrough. The film may be understood in the sense of "literature with a focus on German history". Afterwards, he works in Hollywood, where his projects include, among others, DEATH OF A SALESMAN (1985) with Dustin Hoffman, A GATHERING OF OLD MEN (1987) with Richard Widmark, as well as PALMETTO (1998) with Woody Harrelson.

As early as 1991, he added another masterwork in his series of literature adaptations with Max Frisch`s HOMO FABER. After a short break from cinema, he continued in 1996 with THE OGRE starring John Malkovich. This film was shot, in part, in the Potsdam-Babelsberg studios, where Schlöndorff was the CEO from 1992 until 1997.

In 1999, he realized the film THE LEGEND OF RITA in collaboration with DEFA-screenwriter Wolfgang Kolhaase. Based on an RAF story, it was awarded the Berlinale`s Silver Bear in 2000.

A line in one of his most recent films, THE NINTH DAY (2004), reads "what motivates his heroes in the story of their beautiful failure are refusal and protest". These are the words of Abbé Henri Kremer, the catholic priest from Luxemburg in the concentration camp drama.

At the moment, Volker Schlöndorff is on a reading tour through Germany. The link to his website is:

In his honor, ARTHAUS/KINOWELT has just issued a selection of nine films in a collection entitled "Volker Schlöndorff Director`s Edition":

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