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GER 1999, 82 min

A day in the life of a dead man.


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.


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Language: German, Subtitles: English, French, Spanish

Press reviews

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. (Elvis Mitchell, The New York Times, 07.11.2001)

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. (Stanley Kauffmann, The New Republic, 19.11.2001)

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

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)

Awards and Festivals

- Internationale Hofer Filmtage 2000 (Ausgezeichnet als außergewöhnliche Entdeckung von der Katholischen Filmkommission / film-dienst)
- IFF Rotterdam 2000, Tiger Award Competition
- Vancouver International Film Festival 2000 (Ausgezeichnet mit dem Diversity in Spirit Award)
- Bergamo Film Meeting 2000 (Ausgezeichnet mit dem Hauptpreis "Golden Rosa Camuna" als Bester Film)
- Berlinale Neue deutsche Filme 2000
- Valennciennes 2000 (Preis für die beste Schauspielerin für Eva Mattes)
- Black Harvest International Film Festival 2001
- Zweites Festival des deutschen Films, Buenos Aires
- bfm International Film Festival, London
- International Film Festival Alexandria
- Helsinki Film Festival „Love and Anarchie“
- Hong Kong: MAX! 2001


Frieder Schlaich
Isaach de Bankolé, Eva Mattes, Hanno Friedrich, Barnaby Metschurat, Sigrid Burkholder, Lara Kugler, Traute Hoess, Waldemar Kobus, Gottfried Breitfuß, Peter Rühring, Andrej Kritenko, Lucia Schlör, Hansjürgen Gerth, Heiner Heusinger, Maria Freivogel, Hedi Kriegeskotte, Stefan Moos, Katja Schmidt-Oehm, Roland Baisch, Thomas Tucht, Stefan Feddersen Clausen, Bernd Gnann
Klaus Pohl, Frieder Schlaich
Director of Photography
Volker Tittel
Magdolna Rokob
Don Philippe (Freundeskreis)
Production Design
Anne Schlaich
Make-up Artist
Susanne Schickert
Costume Design
Henrike Luz
Original Sound
Steffen Graubaum
Set Manager
Tillmann Weber
Irene von Alberti, Thomas Lechner
Filmgalerie 451
Co-produced by  
ZDF - Das kleine Fernsehspiel (Claudia Tronnier)
MFG Baden-Württemberg, Filmförderung Hamburg
German Theatrical Release


Documentary „Die Entscheider“ by Susanne Ofteringer („Nico Icon“, 20 min), full soundtrack by Don Philippe (Freundeskreis), film reporting, Reviews, theatrical trailer
English, Spanish, French
Country Code
PAL / Farbe
82 min + Extras
Aspect Ratio
Sound Format
DD 2.0
Softbox (Set Inhalt: 1), 12-pages booklet with background material about the true story
Release date
From 12 Years

Distribution Details

Screening Format
DCP (2K, 24 fps, 5.1)
Blu-ray Disc
35mm (Dolby SR, contact Deutsche Kinemathek)
Aspect Ratio
35mm, 1:1,85
English (DCP, BD)
English, French, Spanish (35mm)
Promotion Material
License Area
From 12 Years