For two weeks, 20 male participants are hired to play prisoners and guards in a prison. The "prisoners" have to follow seemingly mild rules, and the "guards" are told to retain order without using physical violence.
German screenwriter and director Oliver Hirschbiegel's fourth television film which was written by Austrian screenwriter Paul Hengge, is a German production which was shot in Hamburg, Germany and produced by German producers Hubertus Meyer-Burckhardt and Nicole Keeb. It tells the story about a Jewish antique dealer named Siegfried Rabinovicz who upon arriving at his destined airport finds out that his plane is delayed and is approached by a woman who offers to give him a ticket on first class and a red book in trade for his ticket. It appears that Rabinovicz has desired this book for many years so he gladly accepts her offer knowing nothing of her intentions. While awaiting his plane in the lobby, a stranger sitting across from him begins to ask him questions about the murder of a German publisher.
Subtly and acutely directed by German filmmaker Oliver Hirschbiegel, this condensed chamber drama which is set on the Munich airport, draws an invariably engaging portrayal of a conversation between two middle-aged strangers with different agendas. While notable for it's fine cinematography by Swiss cinematographer Rainer Klausman and use of sound, this character-driven, dialog-driven and incisively narrated fictional tale depicts two converging studies of character.
This finely tuned, consistently intriguing, somewhat humorous and atmospheric character piece is impelled and reinforced by it's quick-witted dialog, cogent narrative structure and the brilliant acting performances by German actors Klaus Löwitsch (1936-2002) and Matthias Habich. An exceedingly engrossing psychological thriller which gained, among other awards, the award for Best Actor Klaus Löwitsch and Best Writer Paul Hengge at the Bavarian TV Awards in 1998.
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