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Circle of Deceit (1981)

Die Fälschung (original title)
Laschen, a German journalist, travels to the city of Beirut during the fights between Christians and Palestinians to produce an essay about the situation. Together with his photographer, he... See full summary »


Nicolas Born (novel), Volker Schlöndorff (screenplay) | 3 more credits »
1 win & 3 nominations. See more awards »





Cast overview, first billed only:
Bruno Ganz ... Georg Laschen
Hanna Schygulla ... Ariane Nassar
Jerzy Skolimowski ... Hoffmann
Jean Carmet ... Rudnik
Gila von Weitershausen ... Greta Laschen
Peter Martin Urtel Peter Martin Urtel ... Berger (as Martin Urtel)
John Munro John Munro ... John
Fouad Naim Fouad Naim ... Excellence Joseph
Josette Khalil Josette Khalil ... Madame Joseph
Ghassan Mattar Ghassan Mattar ... Ahmed
Sarah Salem Sarah Salem ... Sister Brigitte
Rafic Najem Rafic Najem ... Taxi
Magnia Fakhoury Magnia Fakhoury ... Aicha
Jack Diagilaitas Jack Diagilaitas ... Swedish Journalist
Roger Assaf Roger Assaf ... Phalangist Officer


Laschen, a German journalist, travels to the city of Beirut during the fights between Christians and Palestinians to produce an essay about the situation. Together with his photographer, he meets some important people and discovers the everyday face of the war. He also has to figure out about his home life, where his marriage is in a big crisis. Written by Benjamin Stello

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


Drama | War


R | See all certifications »

Did You Know?


This film was part of a cycle of pictures made during the 1980s that featured journalists covering war. The movies include Salvador (1986), Under Fire (1983), Circle of Deceit [Circle of Deceit (1981)], Witness in the War Zone (1987), Cry Freedom (1987), The Killing Fields (1984) and The Year of Living Dangerously (1982). See more »


Sister Brigitte: I must tell you, though, if you change your mind, we absolutely will not take him back.
Ariane Nassar: But he has been baptized!
Sister Brigitte: Yes, we have done everything necessary.
Georg Laschen: Then he's not a heathen.
Ariane Nassar: What sum had you considered?
Sister Brigitte: Whatever you choose to give. The convent really needs help.
Ariane Nassar: A thousand? Two thousand?
Sister Brigitte: Two thousand seems a lot.
Ariane Nassar: Not to me.
See more »

Crazy Credits

Opening credits run in a single at the bottom of the screen, right to left in the style of a news ticker. See more »

User Reviews

Circle of Deceit
30 July 2010 | by random_avengerSee all my reviews

A German reporter Georg Laschen (Bruno Ganz) arrives in Beirut, Lebanon with a photographer Hoffmann (Jerzy Skolimowski), aiming to write an article on the inflammatory situation there. The city has more or less been turned into a huge war zone where bombs and gunfire are ever-present especially during the dark hours of the day. Laschen's own personal motives for accepting such a dangerous job are related to his frustration about his troubled marital situation back in Germany; something he tries to overcome by striking up a relationship with Ariane (Hanna Schygulla), a white woman living in Beirut. Despite witnessing many atrocities, or perhaps because of it, Laschen struggles to achieve an understanding of the motives of the warring parties who both claim to fight for peace and freedom and accuse each other of barbaric acts of terror.

The film was shot on location in Beirut which guarantees a very authentic look to the damaged city. Many of the "action" scenes also look very effective and the sense of danger is well created, even though the main focus is given to psychological things like Laschen's attempts to grasp the situation, not thrilling bomb attacks and firefights. Sometimes the pacing feels a little slow, but the acting is good throughout. Especially the brooding Ganz and the pragmatic Skolimowski play well together, bringing life to their very different characters.

The most notable sentiment present in the film is the complete lack of optimism. The war is portrayed as completely inhumane and unheroic waste of life: the photographs and scenes depicting unspeakable mistreatment of civilians stay in the viewer's mind for a long time. The film doesn't offer a hopeful or positive message on either of its two levels, general or personal – no solution for either the war or Laschen's own anxiety seems possible. "Our only real chance to fight the violence is to not let it start in the first place" is the vibe I'm getting out of the film – an effective piece of cinema.

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West Germany | France


German | French | Arabic | English

Release Date:

28 October 1981 (France) See more »

Also Known As:

Circle of Deceit See more »

Filming Locations:

Lebanon See more »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

Dolby Stereo


Color (Eastmancolor)

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See full technical specs »

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