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Abel grows up unloved and without parents in the 1920s in a French boarding school, he is nonetheless convinced from an early age of his higher calling. When he wishes that the school would burn down to save him from a punishment, the building soon stands in flames. Years later, he is living as a car mechanic on the outskirts of Paris. He has contact only with children, animals and a few outcasts. Suspected of having indecently assaulted a small girl, Fate again takes care of his own: the Second World War begins and saves him from prison. But Abel immediately ends up as a prisoner-of-war in East Prussia. Abel experiences as a liberation what for others would be a tragic exile. He finds the long dreamed-of adventure land of his childhood in the forests and lakes of East Prussia.

Reichsjaegermeister Goering engages Abel for his hunting lodge. Abel accompanies him on the hunt. Until a battle in far Stalingrad brings Goering´s splendid life in the East to an end. But, for Abel, this development is just another step toward the ancient Citadel of Kaltenborn where 400 pupils aged between 12 and 16 are being trained for their role as the future elite of the Reich. He brings back young boys for the elite school from his raids in the isolated villages. He, who the children love, captures them for the castle like an ogre. First when Abel finds a young Jewish boy in the wake of a death march by concentration camp prisoners and brings him to the castle, does The Ogre develop into the monster´s enemy.
Category Feature
Director Volker Schlöndorff
Screenplay Jean-Claude Carrière, Volker Schlöndorff
Cinematography Bruno de Keyzer
Nicolas Gaster
Michael Nyman
Cast Volker Spengler, John Malkovich, Marianne Sägebrecht, Armin Mueller-Stahl, Gottfried John, Heino Ferch, Agnes Soral
Producers Chris Auty, Pierre Couveinhes, Jeremy Thomas, Claude Berri, Ingrid Windisch, Lew Rywin
Production Companies Renn Production/Paris, Recorded Picture Company/London, Studio Babelsberg Motion Pictures, in association with France 2/Paris, Heritage Films, Canal+, La Sept, WDR
Runtime 120 min
Format 35 mm, color
Sound Technology Dolby SR
Festivals San Sebastian 2002, La Rochelle 2017
With backing from German Federal Film Board / FFA Filmförderungsanstalt, Eurimages Fund of the Council of Europe, BMI
German Distributor TOBIS Film

World Sales
UGC International
24, Avenue Charles de Gaulle
92522 Neuilly-sur-Seine/France