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Der Hauptmann

Willi Herold, a 19 year old potential deserter, has just found a captain‘s uniform and is already posturing and beginning to exercise his power.


Robert Schwentke‘s film DER HAUPTMANN is one of the most precise films about fascism since Pasolini‘s SALO OR 120 DAYS OF SODOM. It begins with an escape that is a sadistic joyful sport for the hunters at the same time. 19 year old freed and possible deserter Willi Herold (Max Hubacher) tries to escape a jeering mob under the leadershop of captain Junker (Aelxander Fehling) driving an armored tank in 1945. After Herold escapes, he finds a captain‘s uniform in a deserted vehicle. As soon as he wears it, he starts posturing and beginning to exercise his power and shortly after he finds his first underling. A cycle begins that runs on the panic of being caught and executed and the lust for fascist power and the pleasure of escaping his crisis and being on the dominant side. Herold collects a submissive and sadistic troop that encounters captain Junker again in a concentration camp.

Schwentke lets his actors react in almost expressionist ways in slightly excessive tones. Something is presented and exhibited here, not imitated. DER HAUPTMANN, based on the real events surrounding war criminal Willi Herold, is an experimental arrangement that investigates fascist violence structures like Pasolini‘s last film. There are violent rituals, in which every cruelty is outdone by an even bigger torture. The captain and his comrades soon develop a type of aesthetic and an education of cruelty – a precise image of a fascist power structure. The fact that the film ends in a sex and violence orgy and a military trial in which Herold‘s “colleagues“ praise Herold‘s discipline and efficiency is consistent.

Tom Dorow

Translation: Elinor Lewy


Deutschland/Frankreich/Polen 2017, 118 min
Genre: Drama, Historical Film, War Film
Director: Robert Schwentke
Author: Robert Schwentke
DOP: Florian Ballhaus
Montage: Mike Czarnecki
Music: Martin Todsharow
Distributor: Weltkino Filmverleih
Cast: Max Hubacher, Bernd Hölscher, Milan Peschel, Frederick Lau, Waldemar Kobus
FSK: 16
Release: 15.03.2018



  • OV Original version
  • OmU Original with German subtitles
  • OmeU Original with English subtitles
  • OV Original version
  • OmU Original with German subtitles
  • OmeU Original with English subtitles
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