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Schlingensief – A Voice that Shook the Silence

GER 2020, 124 min

Christoph Schlingensief’s “Heimat” films, performance art, installations and provocative theatrical, television, operatic and artistic productions shaped the cultural and political discourse in Germany for two decades. SCHLINGENSIEF – A VOICE THAT SHOOK THE SILENCE is the first film that attempts to exhaustively document the vast spectrum of this exceptional artist’s oeuvre.


SCHLINGENSIEF – A VOICE THAT SHOOK THE SILENCE focuses on Christoph Schlingensief as a “family person” (Schlingensief on Schlingensief) who dealt equally with his relationship to his parents and his relationship to Germany in his work. The film traces his development from pubescent filmmaker with an artistic bloodlust to revolutionary stage director in Berlin and Bayreuth, and, ultimately, to Germany’s “national artist”, who was purportedly venerated by all and invited to create the German Pavilion for the 2011 Venice Biennale. SCHLINGENSIEF – A VOICE THAT SHOOK THE SILENCE explores Schlingensief’s untiring, and ultimately inexhaustible, love-hate relationship to Germany, to its high culture, and to its petite-bourgeoisie sentiments – which he attributed to himself more than anyone else – via scenes of East Germans being made into sausage, shouts of “Kill Helmut Kohl!” (documenta X) and an attempt to rehabilitate Wagner (PARSIFAL).


NOW available for free at ARD Mediathek until October 20th! (In German only.)


Rent or buy the movie on our Vimeo channel. For other providers, see “Watch Movie”.
Language: German, Subtitles: Arabic, Chinese, Czech, English, French, German, Polish, Portuguese, Russian, Spanish

Awards and Festivals

- Berlinale Panorama 2020
- Nominated for Deutscher Filmpreis for Best Documentary Film and Best Editing
- Cine Alemán Madrid 2020
- DOK.fest München 2020
- Brisbane International Film Festival 2020
- Territory Film Festival Moscow 2020
- Das Filmfest Prague & Brno 2020
- Viennale 2020
- Sheffield Doc/Fest 2020
- Free Zone Belgrade, Human Rights Film Festival 2020
- Doclisboa 2021
- Deutscher Kamerapreis 2021 - Bester Schnitt
- Bayerischer Filmpreis 2021 - Bester Dokumentarfilm
- Art Cinema OFFoff Gent 2021
- Randfilmfest Kassel 2021
- Deutsche Filmwoche - Goethe-Institut Mexiko 2021


Director and Screenplay
Bettina Böhler
Bettina Böhler
Christoph Schlingensief, Margit Carstensen, Irm Hermann, Volker Spengler, Alfred Edel, Udo Kier, Sophie Rois, Bernhard Schütz, Kerstin Grassmann, Helge Schneider, Dietrich Kuhlbrodt, Susanne Bredehöft, Tilda Swinton, Artur Albrecht, Achim von Paczenzky, Helga Stöwhase, Sebastian Rudolph a.o.
Script Counselling
Angelina Maccarone
Research and Assistant
Lydia Anemüller
Sound Design
Daniel Iribarren
Sound Mixer
Adrian Baumeister
Frieder Schlaich, Irene von Alberti
Produced by
Filmgalerie 451
In Coproduction with
Rundfunk Berlin-Brandenburg (Rolf Bergmann) und Westdeutscher Rundfunk (Jutta Krug)
Founded by
Die Beauftragte der Bundesregierung für Kultur und Medien, Medienboard Berlin-Brandenburg, Film- und Medienstiftung NRW, Deutscher Filmförderfonds
World premiere
Theatrical release (GER)


Special Edition with all short films & extras - 2 DVDs

"Schlingensief – A Voice that Shook the Silence"  (2020, 125 min)
Interviews with Bettina Böhler and Helge Schneider (2020, 17min), trailer
All short film by Christoph Schlingensief: „Mein 1. Film“ (1968, 10 min) / „Die Schulklasse“ (1969, 13 min) / „Mensch Mami, wir dreh’n ’nen Film“ (1977, 21 min) / „Für Elise“ (1982, 2 min) / „Wie würden Sie entscheiden?“ (1982, 4 min) / „Phantasus muss anders werden“ (1983, 9 min) / „What happened to Magdalena Jung?“ (1983, 13 min) / „Bemerkungen I“ (1984, 7 min) / „Bye Bye“ (1985, 6 min) / „My Wife in 5“ (1985, 13 min) / „Die Schlacht der Idioten“ (1986, 21 min)
„Christoph Schlingensief und seine Filme“ (Interview film by Frieder Schlaich, 2004, 77 min)
DVD 1: Arabic, Czech, English, French, German, Polish, Portuguese, Russian, Spanish (extras without subtitles)
DVD 2: English
Country Code
125 min + 213 min Extras
Aspect Ratio
Sound Format
DD 2.0
Digipack (Set Content: 1), poster (A3)
From 16 years

Distribution Details

Distribution Germany
Weltkino Filmverleih

International Distribution
Filmgalerie 451