After award-winning docu-dramas such as Die Manns - Ein Jahrhundertroman (The Manns - Novel of a Century), Heinrich Breloer turns his attentions to the biography of the writer Bertolt Brecht (1898-1956). In a mixture of fiction and documentary, his film sketches a self-confident man who was nonetheless beset by doubts, full of a lust for life and vulnerability. Brecht’s art reflects his inner conflict and is closely linked to the political upheavals of the time. Following Brecht’s life from the beginning of World War I to his death, Breloer concentrates on Brecht’s relationships with his women and his colleagues at the Berliner Ensemble. Time and again, individual portraits are distilled from the extensive material, including that of Brecht’s wife Helene Weigel, who played the legendary role of ‘Mother Courage’; his protégé Martin Pohl, who was arrested by the Stasi; and Brecht’s collaborator and lover, Ruth Berlau. Excerpts from interviews with Brecht’s first love Paula Banholzer, directors Egon Monk and Manfred Wekwerth, actor Regine Lutz and many others contribute to this portrait of the icon of political theatre as a combative, loving and conflicted contemporary.
by Heinrich Breloer
with Burghart Klaußner, Tom Schilling, Adele Neuhauser, Trine Dyrholm, Mala Emde, Franz Hartwig, Friederike Becht, Ernst Stötzner, Lou Strenger, Leonie Benesch, Marie Luise Stahl
Germany / Austria 2018 German 187’ Colour World premiere | Documentary form Rating R0


  • Burghart Klaußner (Bertolt Brecht 1947–1956)
  • Tom Schilling (Bertolt Brecht 1916–1933)
  • Adele Neuhauser (Helene Weigel 1947–1956)
  • Trine Dyrholm (Ruth Berlau)
  • Mala Emde (Paula Banholzer)
  • Franz Hartwig (Caspar Neher 1916–1933)
  • Friederike Becht (Marianne Zoff)
  • Ernst Stötzner (Caspar Neher 1956)
  • Lou Strenger (Helene Weigel 1927–1933)
  • Leonie Benesch (Elisabeth Hauptmann 1927–1933)
  • Marie Luise Stahl (Angelika Hurwicz)


Written and Directed by Heinrich Breloer
Cinematography Gernot Roll
Editing Claudia Wolscht
Music Hans Peter Ströer
Sound Design Frieder Wohlfarth
Sound Miroslav Píbil
Production Design Christoph Kanter
Costumes Ute Paffendorf
Make-Up Silka Lisku
Assistant Director Eva Kadanová
Casting Heta Mantscheff
Production Managers Gilbert Möhler, Tahmee Theiler
Producers Corinna Eich, Jan S. Kaiser
Co-Producers Georg Höss, Heinrich Ambrosch, Michal Pokorny, Zybnek Pippal
Co-Production Bavaria Fiction Geiselgasteig
Bavaria Filmproduktion Köln
Satel Film Wien

Heinrich Breloer

Born in Gelsenkirchen, Germany in 1942, he studied German and philosophy followed by a doctorate in literature and theatre at the University of Hamburg and then became a freelance film and television critic. He made his directorial debut in 1976 with Horst Königstein, with whom he collaborated on further films until 1982. In 1997 he caused a sensation with Todesspiel, about the kidnapping and murder of Hanns Martin Schleyer. His four-part mini-series Die Manns. Ein Jahrhundertroman won numerous prizes including a Grimme Award and the Bavarian and the German TV Awards. His 2008 novel adaptation Buddenbrooks was his first fiction film to be released in cinemas.

Filmography (selection)

1993 Wehner – die unerzählte Geschichte; TV movie 1997 Todesspiel; TV documentary 2001 Die Manns - ein Jahrhundertroman (The Manns - Novel of a Century); TV movie 2005 Speer und Er; TV movie 2008 Buddenbrooks (Buddenbrooks – The Decline of a Family) 2018 Brecht

Bio- & filmography as of Berlinale 2019