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OTOMO Frieder Schlaich, D 2000, 82 min

Two exceptional actors in an internationally award-winning German Film

Stuttgart in August 1989. A simple tram ticket check triggers a tragedy: When the asylum-seeker Frederic Otomo is caught without a ticket and detained, he starts to panick and runs off. A few hours later, when the Police close in on him on a bridge, he stabs two officers. Based on a true story.

"Bloodbath on open street" was the headline of a daily newspaper und it reports on "on one of the most serious crimes in the history of this city", the rainbow press knows "The butcher wanted to murder.". The minister of the interior cancels his vacation and re-opens the discussion around the deployment of firearms by the police, there is a call for stricter asylum legislation. Public opinion boiling over.

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Press Coverage

The German social melodrama "Otomo" has a fascinating weight. Spare and taut, it follows the story of Frederic Otomo a Cameroon immigrant living in Stuttgart. ... This film, set in 1989, is based on the true story of Otomo's flight after committing a violent crime and offers dramatic conjecture about the hours before his final encounter with the Stuttgart police. ... The director's cold-blooded minimalism is abetted by the chilled electrica groove of the scorre by Freundeskreis. It helps to establish the mood of the piece and gradually becomes the pulse as the manhunt for Otomo goes on. "Otomo" is a bleak and powerful work, one we probably need more than ever these days. (The New York Times, 07.11.2001, Elvis Mitchell)

Schlaich puts his gifts at the service of the story, its mood, its implication of powerst hat victimize the protagonist – like the long shots of Otomo seated alone on one end of a bench or of him moving down a cheerless empty street. Schlaich’s work is reminiscent of Wim Wenders and Werner Herzog and Alexander Kluge in the abundant German New Wave of three decades ago. It’s a reminiscence worth having. (The New Republic, 19.11.2001, Stanley Kauffmann)

"Otomo" takes on German society! - The movie is about a man who reaches his snapping point. (Chicago Sun-Times, 14.12.2001, Roger Ebert)

The dehumanizing grind of institutionalized and deliberate racism lies at the core of this searing reconstruction of a true-life tragedy. Isaach de Bankolé delivers an intense performance as a silently frustrated refugee named Frederic Otomo, who spent 8 years in Stuttgart without being able to rise above destituation, despite persistent effort and good manners. (Vancouver Courier, 10.01.2000, GW)

Awards and Festivals