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(Mephisto)

Scene from "Mephisto" (photo courtesy of Filmmusem Berlin/Stiftung Deutsche Kinemathek)

An ambitious and talented actor on the verge of success marries the daughter of a respected professor in pre-World War II Germany. As the Nazi influence grows, he must decide whether to follow his wife and her family as they flee in exile or to use his popularity to further his own career. He returns to Berlin and uses his new connections to become the head of the National Theater, while tailoring his art to the fascist beliefs of his patrons. But he soon realizes that there is a price for his success.


István Szabó was born in Budapest in 1938. Active internationally as a writer, producer, actor and director, a selection of some of his most well-known German films and co-productions includes: Mephisto(1981), Oberst Redl (1985), Offenbachs Geheimnis (TV, 1996), Meeting Venus (1998), Taking Sides (2001), and a segment of the film Ten Minutes Older: Ten Minutes After (2002), and Being Julia (2004).
Genre Drama
Category Feature
Year of Production 1981
Director István Szabó
Screenplay Péter Dobai, István Szabó
Cinematography Lajos Koltai
Zsuzsa Csákány
Zdenkó Tamássy
Eva Marton
Cast Karin Boyd, Péter Andorai, Gyoergy Cserhalmi, Rolf Hoppe, Krystyna Janda, Ildikó Bánsági, Klaus Maria Brandauer, Christine Harbort
Producer Lajos Ovári
Production Company Objektiv Film Studio /Budapest, in co-production with Manfred Durniok Film/Berlin, ORF/Vienna, HR/Frankfurt
Length 145 min
Format 35 mm, color
Original Version
 German
Sound Technology Optical
Festivals Cannes 1981
Awards Silver Palm for Best Screenplay & FIPRESCI Award Cannes 1981, OSCAR 1981 for Best Foreign Language Film, David di Donatello Award 1982, Silver Ribbon 1982 from the Italian National Syndicate of Film Journalists, Jussi Award 1982, ALFS Award from the London Critics Circle, NBR Award 1982 from the National Board of Review U.S.A., German Guild Film Award 1983
German Distributor Manfred Durniok Film/Berlin

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