Seneca – On the Creation of Earthquakes
Rome in 65 A.D. Emperor Nero is rehearsing a speech with his mentor Seneca in a rhetoric class. But this is sadly in vain: the IQ gap between the two men is all-too evident. Sensing the senator’s superiority, the ruler flies into a rage. Since he has already bumped off several of his closest family members in violent rage, this is not a good sign. Seneca suspects that the cruel rolling of heads may soon apply to him, too. He is nonetheless surprised when Nero, at the height of his tyrannical powers and usually addressed as “Mr President”, orders Seneca to kill himself. We know from Tacitus that Seneca then slashes his wrists and this drives his much younger wife Paulina to suicide. Robert Schwentke has his hero bleed for a particularly long amount of time and, during this “interim period”, the big-shot senator rails against the world but especially against himself. Schwentke has made a pyrotechnic display of a film that is almost peerless in its use of over-the-top punchlines, splatter-sarcasm and love of verbal precocity. Stunning and incredibly topical, Seneca asks: is the educated elite a victim of tyranny or an opportunistic collaborator? The time is indeed ripe for political allegories.
by Robert Schwentke
with John Malkovich, Tom Xander, Geraldine Chaplin, Louis Hofmann, Lilith Stangenberg, Samuel Finzi, Mary-Louise Parker, Andrew Koji, Julian Sands, Alexander Fehling
Germany / Morocco 2022 English 110’ Colour World premiere


  • John Malkovich (Seneca)
  • Tom Xander (Nero)
  • Geraldine Chaplin (Lucia)
  • Louis Hofmann (Lucilius)
  • Lilith Stangenberg (Paulina)
  • Samuel Finzi (Statius )
  • Mary-Louise Parker (Agrippina)
  • Andrew Koji (Felix)
  • Julian Sands (Rufus)
  • Alexander Fehling (Decimus)


Director Robert Schwentke
Screenplay Robert Schwentke, Matthew Wilder
Cinematography Benoît Debie
Editing Michał Czarnecki
Music Martin Todsharow
Sound Design André Bedocchi Alves
Sound Steffen Graubaum
Art Directors Roman Mares, Marco Trentini, Sasa Zivkovic, Ersan Mondtag "Thyestes" concept
Costumes Anna Wübber
Make-Up Julia Böhm, Friederike Schäfer
Casting Kate Ringsell, Anja Dihrberg, Salah Benchegra
Production Manager Frieder Schlaich
Assistant Director Mehdi Souissi
Producers Frieder Schlaich, Irene von Alberti
Co-Producers Annegret Weitkämper-Krug, Karim Debbagh, Simon Ofenloch
Co-Production Gretchenfilm Hamburg
Kasbah-Films Tanger