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Experiment, The (Experiment, Das)

Experiment, The
Scene from "The Experiment" (photo courtesy of Fanes Film)

When former journalist Tarek Fahd, who presently drives a cab in the German town of Cologne, stumbles upon a newspaper ad looking for volunteers for a psychological experiment, he convinces his former boss to commission him to report undercover about the experiment, which seems to be partly funded by the army. Just before Tarek enters the experiment and agrees to live in a mock prison for two weeks, waiving his civil rights, his taxi is hit one night by the car of a young and beautiful woman. Dora has just lost her father, and she and Tarek spend a night together. But the next morning Dora has vanished and Tarek starts his "term" in the "prison" that has been built into the cellar of the university. In the beginning, everyone, "guards" and "prisoners" alike, take it as a game. When Tarek, who records the proceedings with a miniature camera hidden in his glasses, starts to provoke the "guards", the situation begins to get out of hand. But the psychologists, who keep a 24-hour surveillance on the experiment, decide not to intervene.
An unimaginable nightmare has begun. And the experiment turns into a matter of life and death...


Oliver Hirschbiegel scored a sensational success with the award-winning feature film THE EXPERIMENT (2001).His third feature DOWNFALL (2004) was nominated for an Academy Award® in 2005 in the category Best Foreign Language Film. Also active in television, a selection of his other features includes: 13 MINUTES (2015), DIANA (2013), FIVE MINUTES OF HEAVEN (2009), INVASION (2007), EIN GANZ GEWÖHNLICHER JUDE (2005), and MY LAST FILM (2002).
Genre Drama, Psycho Thriller
Category Feature
Year of Production 2000
Director Oliver Hirschbiegel
Screenplay Mario Giordano, Christoph Darnstädt, Don Bohlinger
Cinematography Rainer Klausmann
Hans Funck
Alexander van Bubenheim
Uli Hanisch, Andrea Kessler
Cast Antoine Monot Jr., Moritz Bleibtreu, Andrea Sawatzki, Maren Eggert, Christian Berkel, Justus von Dohnányi, Oliver Stokowski, Timo Dierkes, Edgar Selge
Producers Norbert Preuss, Marc Conrad, Fritz Wildfeuer
Production Companies Fanes Film/Munich, Typhoon Networks, Huerth, in co-production with Senator Film Produktion, SevenPictures Film
Length 120 min
Format 35 mm, color
Dubbed Versions Italian
Original Version
 German
Subtitled Versions English, French
Sound Technology Dolby Digital
Festivals Montreal 2001 (in competition), Sitges 2001, Bergen 2001, AFI Los Angeles 2001, Berlin 2002 (German Cinema), Gothenburg 2002
Awards Bavarian Film Prize 2001 for Best Direction, Best Cinematography, Best Screenplay, BOGEY 2001, German Film Awards 2001 for Best Leading Actor, Supporting Actor, Production Design and Audience Award, Best Direction Montreal 2001
With backing from German Federal Film Board, FilmFernsehFonds Bayern, BKM
German Distributor Senator Film Verleih/Berlin

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