Volker Schlöndorff

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"Volker Schlöndorff has done more than any other German director to mediate between literature and film," says Prof. Dr. Peter Seibert of the Department of Modern German Literature. This was the reason for the Institute for German Studies at the University of Kassel to award the Grimm Professorship to Schlöndorff in 2011. In this way, a Hessian university is also paying tribute to the filmmaker, who is originally from Hesse.

Image: Martin Kraft (Wikimedia Commons; CC BY-SA 3.0)
Volker Schlöndorff (Wiesbaden 2015)

Literary adaptations such as DIE BLECHTROMMEL (D/F 1979), HOMO FABER (D/F/GR 1991), DIE VERLORENE EHRE DER KATHARINA BLUM (D 1975), DER TOD EINES HANDLUNGSREISENDEN (USA 1985) and EINE LIEBE VON SWANN (F/D 1984) have made Volker Schlöndorff known and famous as a director. With over 30 feature films, Schlöndorff has written film history.

GPP event series with Volker Schlöndorff

Schlöndorff spoke about the films HOMO FABER, DER PLÖTZLICHE REICHTUM DER ARMEN LEUTE VON KOMBACH (D 1971) and his relationship to the Grimms, among other topics, as part of his Kassel Brothers Grimm Professorship from June 28 to 30. 

On June 30, Schlöndorff addressed his cinematic adaptation of Homo Faber, whose author Max Frisch celebrated his 100th birthday in 2011, . "It was a great experience for me to work with him for two years. He became a late role model for me in the process. He was a loner who trusted in his intellect and his feelings," Schlöndorff said in the "publik" interview.

DER PLÖTZLICHE REICHTUM DER ARMEN LEUTE VON KOMBACH, Schlöndorff's directorial work from 1971, was the focus of his lecture in Kassel on June 29. For the Wiesbaden-born director, the film is also of great importance for his later work: "With this film, I actually only began to develop. The opportunity to remember my childhood in Hesse was also good for me." The film was shot on Hessian locations and with Hessian actors and also includes references to Hessian authors. For example, the director included quotes from Büchner's Woyzeck and from the Brothers Grimm's fairy tales in the film. "When I was working on the film, I also saw myself as the Brothers Grimm when I was collecting material about that time," Schlöndorff recalls of the making of the film. The film was awarded the Gold Film Ribbon for Directing of the German Film Awards.

Prizes and awards (selection):

  • 1979 Palme d'Or for THE BLECHTROMMEL
  • 1980 Oscar© for DIE BLECHTROMMEL (Category: Best Foreign Language Film.)
  • 1987 Hessian Culture Award
  • 2002 Officer of the French Legion of Honor
  • 2003 Award of the Bavarian Order of Merit
  • 2004 Bernhard Wicki Film Prize for THE NINTH DAY
  • 2005 Honorary Award of the Bavarian Film Prize
  • 2005 Honorary Lifetime Achievement Award at the 20th Festival Internacional de Cine de Mar del Plata.
  • 2008 Order of Merit of the State of Brandenburg
  • 2009 Carl Zuckmayer Medal
  • 2009 Honorary Jupiter for his life's work
  • 2012 Star on the Boulevard of Stars in Berlin