Jakob der Lügner

Jacob the Liar
Jakob Heym, a Jew deported to a ghetto in occupied Poland during the Second World War, is discovered by a sentry in the street after curfew and is taken to a police station to be punished. Whilst there, he overhears through an open door that the Red Army is successfully advancing. When Jakob is unexpectedly released by the SS man in charge, he is faced with the question of what to do with this uplifting news. With whom should he share his joy? Will people believe him or will they think he is an informer?
This 1974 Oscar-nominated literary adaptation was digitally restored in 2022 on behalf of the DEFA Foundation. The digitised version is being unveiled for the first time at the Berlinale. This fully accessible screening of the German subtitled version is accompanied by audio description and is taking place as part of the award ceremony for the Heiner Carow Prize.

The prize’s nominees are the following creatives from different filmmaking disciplines whose work is screening in the Perspektive Deutsches Kino section: Karla Cristóbal (Long Long Kiss, screenwriter); Fabiana Fragale, Kilian Kuhlendahl, Jens Mühlhoff (Lonley Oaks, directors); Jacob Maria Kohl (Nomades du nucléaire, cinematographer); Bayan Leyla (Elaha, actor); Sophia Mocorrea (The Kidnapping of the Bride, director); Steffi Niederzoll (Seven Winters in Tehran, director); Evelyn Rack (Ararat, editor); Daria Somesan (On Mothers and Daughters, sound); Fabian Stumm (Bones and Names, screenwriter); Ole Wiedekamm (Ash Wednesday, music).

This year’s jury members are Freya Arde (film composer), Peter Kahane (director) and Mirko Wiermann (DEFA Foundation). The DEFA Foundation is awarding this prize for the tenth time.
by Frank Beyer
with Vlastimil Brodský, Erwin Geschonneck, Henry Hübchen, Blanche Kommerell, Manuela Simon, Dezső Garas, Zsuzsa Gordon, Friedrich Richter, Magrit Bara, Reimar Johannes Baur, Arnin Mueller Stahl
German Democratic Republic 1974 German 101’ Colour


  • Vlastimil Brodský (Jacob)
  • Erwin Geschonneck (Kowalski)
  • Henry Hübchen (Mischa)
  • Blanche Kommerell (Rosa)
  • Manuela Simon (Lina)
  • Dezső Garas (Mr. Frankfurter)
  • Zsuzsa Gordon (Mrs. Frankfurter)
  • Friedrich Richter (Professor Kirschbaum)
  • Magrit Bara (Josefa)
  • Reimar Johannes Baur (Herschel Schtamm)
  • Arnin Mueller Stahl (Roman Schtamm)


Director Frank Beyer
Cinematography Günter Marczinkowsky
Camera Assistant Dietram Kleist
Editing Rita Hiller
Music Joachim Werzlau
Sound Horst Mathuschek, Gerhard Ribbeck
Production Design Alfred Hirschmeier
Costumes Joachim Dittrich
Make-Up Günter Hermstein, Inge Merten, Monika Mörke
Assistant Directors Harakd Fischer, Günter Hoffmann
Dramaturgy Gerd Gericke
Location Managers Werner Teichmann, Gerd Zimmermann
Production Manager Herbert Ehler

Produced by

Deutscher Fernsehfunk DDR

DEFA-Studio für Spielfilme

Frank Beyer

The director (1932–2006) was one of the most internationally renowned DEFA filmmakers in East Germany. Resistance to fascism is a leitmotif of his work. After making several films, in 1966 he was subject to a long-term filmmaking ban. Jakob der Lügner, the first film he made following the ban, was the only DEFA feature film ever to be nominated for an Oscar. It also won a Silver Bear at the Berlinale. He was awarded the Berlinale Camera in 1990 and, a year later, was honoured for his lifetime achievement at the German Film Awards.

Filmography (selection)

1957 Zwei Mütter 1960 Fünf Patronenhülsen 1962 Königskinder · Nackt unter Wölfen 1963 Karbid und Sauerampfer 1966 Spur der Steine 1974 Jakob der Lügner (Jacob the Liar) 1977 Das Versteck 1982 Der Aufenthalt 1983 Bockshorn 1988 Der Bruch 1991 Der Verdacht 1995 Nikolaikirche 1997 Abgehauen

Bio- & filmography as of Berlinale 2023