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Gott ist tot

Gott ist tot
G. George, K. Soezen, B.-M. Ahren (photo © Mark-Steffen Goewecke)

Production Report featured in
German Films Quarterly 01/2002

Some films are driven by effects, others by action. Kadir Soezen's Gott ist tot (translation "God is Dead") is character driven.

Goetz George plays the unemployed Heinrich Lutter, who lives with his sons, ex-convict Mike (Markus Knuefken) and handicapped-from-birth Guenni (Bastian Trost).

Heinrich's pride and joy is his motor-home. It symbolizes his hopes for freedom and a better life in Italy; hopes which receive a major blow when it's impounded by the authorities. Undeterred, Heinrich is determined to stand up for his rights and fulfill his ambitions, the honest way.

Mike sees things completely differently and his criminal schemes only serve to put the tentative attempts at reconciliation between father and son to a hard test.

"The film shows the protagonists' poverty," says writer-producer-director Soezen. "I don't mean their financial poverty, but more their emotional poverty. Underscoring and emphasizing this are moments of wild amusement and scenes of triumphant self-proclamation. The film is intended to provoke social criticism." Gott ist tot is a story about home (as in where the heart is) and lack of orientation, social coldness and emotion.

Visually, Soezen has opted for a documentary-style narrative ("The camera works close up to the protagonists but still allows them room to breathe," he says) but not at the expense of what he calls "poetical pictures."

Goetz George's filmography embraces the best of late twentieth century German filmmaking. His credits include Schtonk! (1992, Helmut Dietl), The Deathmaker (Der Totmacher, 1995, Romuald Karmakar), Rossini (1997, Helmut Dietl), Solo for Clarinet (Solo fuer Klarinette, 1998, Nico Hofmann), and After the Truth (Roland Suso Richter).

Markus Knuefken has featured in Knockin' on Heaven's Door (1996, Thomas Jahn), Bang Boom Bang - A Sure Thing (1998, Peter Thorwarth) while Bastian Trost's credits include Aimée & Jaguar (1997, Max Faerberboeck) and After the Truth (also with Goetz George).
Genre Drama
Category Feature
Year of Production 2002
Director Kadir Sözen
Screenplay Kadir Sözen
Cinematography Axel Block
Mevlut Kocak
Cast Barbara Magdalena Ahren, Bastian Trost, Markus Knüfken, Goetz George, Andreas Guenther
Producer Kadir Sözen
Production Company FILMFABRIK/Cologne
Format 35 mm, color
Shooting Dates Cologne, October - November 2001
With backing from BKM