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Edelweiss Pirates (Edelweisspiraten)

Edelweiss Pirates
Scene from "Edelweiss Pirates" (photo © Palladio Film)

Spring 1945. The Americans march into Cologne. Documents are burning at the Gestapo’s headquarters. Prisoners are being lined up. At the last minute, superintendent Kuetter tries to get the orders to execute them. But all lines are dead. Kuetter shoots himself. The prisoners survive. One of them is Karl, a 17-year-old boy. Karl remembers his life before.

One and a half years previously, his life is about as normal as normal can be in a bombed out town. His mother is dead, his father is on the front, and he lives together with his younger brother Peter. Peter is a member of the Hitler Youth, Karl is an Edelweiss Pirate, the natural enemies of his brother’s gang. Karl is also in love with his fallen brother’s fiancée, Cilly.

Karl’s life changes when he and his friends find a runaway prisoner named Hans. When Cilly falls in love with Hans, Karl sees him as a threat. When the brothers find out that their father has been killed, Karl becomes reclusive, while Peter changes sides and starts to sympathize with the Edelweiss Pirates. Hans is being chased by the Gestapo. Karl wants to flee with his brother. When Peter resists and decides to stay with Hans, Karl goes to the Gestapo...


Niko von Glasow was born in 1960 in Cologne. He began his career with Rainer Werner Fassbinder as a production assistant, followed by work with various film distributors, studios and festivals. He studied Directing at New York University and at the Film Academy in Lódz/Poland. His films include: WEDDING GUESTS (HOCHZEITSGÄSTE, 1990), MARIE'S SONG (MARIES LIED, 1994), EDELWEISS PIRATES (EDELWEISSPRIATEN, 2004), SCHAU MICH AN (TV, 2007), and NOBODY'S PERFECT (2008).
Genre History, Drama
Category Feature
Year of Production 2004
Director Niko von Glasow
Screenplay Kiki von Glasow
Cinematography Jolanta Dylewska
Oli Weiss, Andreas Wodraschke
Andreas Schilling
Vera Zelinskaya
Cast Iwan Stebunov, Bela B. Felsenheimer, Anna Thalbach, Jochen Nickel, Jan Decleir, Simon Taal, Jean Juelich, Wolfgang Michael, Volker Roehlich
Producer Niko von Glasow
Production Company Palladio Film/Cologne, in co-production with WDR, X Filme Creative Pool
Length 95 min
Original Version
 German
Subtitled Versions English, French, Spanish
Festivals Montreal 2004 (In Competition), Berlin 2005 (Perspectives German Cinema), Shanghai 2005, Moscow 2005, Karlovy Vary 2005, Chamizal El Paso 2005
Awards Independent Spirit Award Best Film El Paso 2005
With backing from German Federal Film Board, Film- und Medienstiftung NRW, BKM

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