In the face of political pressure at home, Iranian director Sohrab Shahid Saless moved to Germany in the mid-seventies to continue his filmmaking career there. Yet despite critical acclaim and festival recognition, he remained a perpetual outsider figure in German cinema, a position also explored in typically unflinching fashion in 1980’s Ordnung, albeit in transposed form. Aside from his Polish name, Herbert Sladowsky is German through and through, with seemingly everything one needs as such: wife, apartment, career, bourgeois friends. But something is wrong, something that will not be diagnosed or pathologised, but just shown in all its agony with patient, riveting focus, with a stillness that is as hard to bear as Sladowsky’s life. He hasn’t worked as a civil engineer for nearly two years, sits in the dark at home, bellows in the street in the morning to wake up the neighbours, frets about having fed a cigarette to a goat; even when with people, he is always alone. The despairing notes he writes are ultimately misread as poetry, but they are the clearest expression of his desire: “Let them say there is a man who sleeps and never wakes up.”
by Sohrab Shahid Saless
with Heinz Lieven, Dorothea Moritz, Dagmar Hessenland, Ingrid Domann, Peter Schütze, Dieter Schaad, Karl Luzius, Marta Holler, Josefine Klee-Helmdach, Kurt Schmengler, Klaus Grütz, Dieter Reifarth
Federal Republic of Germany 1980 German 96’ Black/White


  • Heinz Lieven
  • Dorothea Moritz
  • Dagmar Hessenland
  • Ingrid Domann
  • Peter Schütze
  • Dieter Schaad
  • Karl Luzius
  • Marta Holler
  • Josefine Klee-Helmdach
  • Kurt Schmengler
  • Klaus Grütz
  • Dieter Reifarth


Director Sohrab Shahid Saless
Screenplay Sohrab Shahid Saless, Dieter Reifarth, Bert Schmidt
Cinematography Ramin Molai
Editing Yvonne Kölsch, Joachim Weiland
Music Rolf Bauer
Sound Gunther Kortwich, Günther Schmidt
Art Directors Herberrt Hiller, Barbara Anders
Assistant Director Bert Schmidt
Production Manager Herbert Kerz
Producer Marten Taege
Commissioning Editor Christoph Holch
Co-Production ZDF Mainz, Deutschland

Produced by

Marten Taege Filmproduktion

Sohrab Shahid Saless

Born in Ghazvin, Iran in 1944. After studying film in Vienna and Paris, he returned to Iran in 1968, where he made several short films as well as the two feature-length films Yek etefagh sadeh (Berlinale Forum 1974) and Tabiate bijan (Berlinale Competition 1974) between 1968 and 1974. Saless subsequently emigrated to the Federal Republic of Germany, where he produced 13 more directorial works. These included the films In der Fremde (Berlinale Competition 1975), Ordnung (Cannes 1980) and Utopia (Berlinale Competition 1983) alongside primarily television productions. Sohrab Shahid Saless died in the US in 1998.


1969 Bazm-e darvishan; 6 min. · Dovomin namayeshgah-e Asiai (2nd Asian Expo); 21 min. 1970 Raghs-haye Torbat-e Jam (Dances of Torbat-e Jam); 11 min. · Raghs-haye mahalli-e Torkaman (Turkmen Folk Dances); 5 min. 1971 Aya...?; 15 min. 1972 Siah-o sefid; 4 min. 1973 Yek etefagh sadeh (A Simple Event); 80 min. 1974 Tabiate bijan (Still Life); 93 min. 1975 Dar ghorbat (In der Fremde / Far from Home); 91 min. 1976 Reifezeit (The Coming of Age); 105 min. 1977 Tagebuch eines Liebenden (Diary of a Lover); 92 min. 1979 Die langen Ferien der Lotte H. Eisner (The Long Vacation of Lotte H. Eisner); 60 min. 1980 Grabbes letzter Sommer; 204 min. · Ordnung (Order); 96 min. 1981 Anton Pavlovič Čechov – Ein Leben; 95 min. 1983 Empfänger unbekannt; 86 min. · Utopia; 198 min. 1984 Der Weidenbaum (The Willow Tree); 100 min. 1985 Hans – Ein Junge in Deutschland; 149 min. 1987 Wechselbalg (Changeling); 135 min. 1991 Rosen für Afrika; 183 min.

Bio- & filmography as of Berlinale 2023