Fabian oder Der Gang vor die Hunde

Fabian – Going to the Dogs
Berlin, 1931. A milieu between sublets and the underworld, where brothels are artists’ studios, Nazis are yelling abuse in the streets and Babelsberg is dreaming of producing “psychological cinema”. Life is surging, society is fermenting and corroding. As long as he still has a job, Jakob Fabian, who has a doctorate in German studies, writes advertising copy during the day and frequents the city’s more outlandish establishments with Stephan Labude at night. While his friend – who later confesses to having failed “in the subjects of life and profession” – is a go-getter when it comes to communism and sex, Fabian remains sober and distant. Without really believing in it, he is waiting for the “victory of decency”. His love for Cornelia is the only thing that makes him question his ironic fatalism. She becomes a ray of hope in his crumbling existence.
Despite all the parallels with today’s maligned world, bringing Erich Kästner’s deeply sad, autobiographical “Fabian” – one of the most important novels of the Weimar Republic – out of the shadows is a challenge. Dominik Graf masters it brilliantly. His style is finely pointed, cold-bloodedly brisk and yet quietly melancholic. A film like a slowly turning disco ball, about the connections between sexual intercourse and an empty fridge – and the disintegration of the dream of happiness.
by Dominik Graf
with Tom Schilling, Saskia Rosendahl, Albrecht Schuch, Meret Becker, Michael Wittenborn, Petra Kalkutschke, Elmar Gutmann, Aljoscha Stadelmann, Anne Bennent, Eva Medusa Gühne
Germany 2021 German 176’ Colour Rating R12

Part of the Berlinale Summer Special


  • Tom Schilling (Jakob Fabian)
  • Saskia Rosendahl (Cornelia Battenberg)
  • Albrecht Schuch (Stephan Labude)
  • Meret Becker (Irene Moll)
  • Michael Wittenborn (Judicial Council Labude)
  • Petra Kalkutschke (Mrs. Fabian)
  • Elmar Gutmann (Mr. Fabian)
  • Aljoscha Stadelmann (Producer Makart)
  • Anne Bennent (Baroness Ruth Reiter)
  • Eva Medusa Gühne (Mrs. Hohfeld)


Director Dominik Graf
Screenplay Constantin Lieb, Dominik Graf freely adapted from the novel of the same name by Erich Kästner
Cinematography Hanno Lentz
Editing Claudia Wolscht
Music Sven Rossenbach, Florian van Volxem
Sound Mixing Michael Stecher
Sound Design Florian Neunhoeffer, Martina Bahr
Sound Martin Witte
Production Design Claus Jürgen Pfeiffer
Costumes Barbara Grupp
Make-Up Nannie Gebhardt-Seele, Anna Freund
Assistant Director Petra Misovic
Casting An Dorthe-Braker
Production Manager Günter Fenner
Line Producer Christine Rau
Producer Felix von Boehm
Associate Producers Gerda Leopold, Christoph Fisser
Co-Producers Marc Schmidheiny, Christoph Daniel, Wiebke Andresen
Commissioning Editors Daniel Blum, Olaf Grunert, Andreas Schreitmüller
Co-Production ZDF Mainz
Arte Straßburg
DCM Pictures Berlin

World sales

Les Films du Losange

Produced by

Lupa Film

Dominik Graf

Born in Munich, Germany in 1952, he studied at the city’s University of Film and Television from 1974 to 1980. In the course of his career as a director and writer he has won many prizes including the German Film Award, the Bavarian Film and Television award, the German Television Award and numerous Grimme Awards. His best-known works include the films Die Katze, Die Sieger, Hotte im Paradies and Die geliebten Schwestern; the series Der Fahnder and Im Angesicht des Verbrechens, and several episodes of “Polizeiruf 110” and “Tatort”. In 2010, he published a book of essays on film.

Filmography (selection)

1979 Der kostbare Gast · Familientag; TV series, 2 episodes 1980 Neonstadt; anthology film, episode “Running Blue” 1982 Das zweite Gesicht 1983 Köberle kommt; TV series, 6 episodes · Der Fahnder; TV series, 8 episodes · Treffer; TV movie 1984 Tatort: Schwarzes Wochenende; TV movie 1985 Drei gegen drei 1986 Die Beute; TV movie · Bei Thea; TV movie 1987 Die Katze 1988 Tiger, Löwe, Panther; TV movie 1990 Spieler 1991 Der Fahnder; TV series, 5 episodes 1992 Die Verflechtung; TV movie 1994 Der Sieger 1995 Tatort: Frau Bu lacht; TV movie · Reise nach Weimar · Sperling und das Loch in der Wand; TV pilot 1996 Dr. Knock; TV movie · Das Wispern im Berg der Dinge; TV documentary · Der Skorpion; TV movie 1997 Sperling und der brennende Arm; TV movie 1998 Bittere Unschuld; TV movie · Deine besten Jahre; TV movie 2000 München – Geheimnisse einer Stadt 2001 Der Felsen 2002 Die Freunde der Freunde; TV movie · Hotte im Paradies; TV movie 2003 Polizeiruf 110: Der scharlachrote Engel; TV movie 2005 Der rote Kakadu · Polizeiruf 110: Er sollte tot; TV movie 2006 Eine Stadt wird erpresst; TV movie 2007 Das Gelübde; TV movie · Süden & der Luftgitarrist; TV movie 2008 Deutschland 09; anthology film, episode: “Der Weg, den wir nicht zusammen gehen”, co-director: Martin Gressmann 2010 Im Angesicht des Verbrechens; TV series, 10 episodes · Polizeiruf 110: Cassandras Warnung; TV movie 2011 3Leben; TV movie · Das unsichtbare Mädchen; TV movie · Lawinen der Erinnerung; TV documentary 2013 Die geliebten Schwestern · Tatort: Aus der Tiefe der Zeit; TV movie · Die reichen Leichen. Ein Starnbergkrimi; TV movie 2014 Es werde Stadt!; TV documentary · Polizeiruf 110: Smoke on the water; TV movie · Was heißt hier Ende? Der Filmkritiker Michael Althen; TV documentary 2015 Zielfahnder – Flucht in die Karpaten 2016 Verfluchte Liebe deutscher Film; TV documentary · Am Abend aller Tage; TV movie 2017 Offene Wunde deutscher Film; TV movie · Tatort: Der rote Schatten; TV movie · Hanne; TV movie 2019 Polizeiruf 110: Die Lüge, die wir Zukunft nennen; TV movie 2021 Fabian oder Der Gang vor die Hunde (Fabian – Going to the Dogs)

Bio- & filmography as of Berlinale 2021