Archive of films Sources of Life / Quellen des Lebens

2013, 174 min

Section: Official Selection - Competition
Year: 2013

Basing his work on his own novel, Herkunft (Origin), Oskar Roehler shot an autobiographical film in which the destinies of three generations confront German history from the postwar era up until the 1980s. As an unloved child of bohemian intellectuals professing the political clichés of the 1960s, the filmmaker projects his disenchantment onto a sarcastic image of society, while introducing a surprisingly subtle romantic tone to the proceedings.


Germany, the late 1940s. Erich Freytag returns from captivity in Russia to a lukewarm reception from his family. Life goes on: after Erich’s son Klaus discovers he has a knack for writing, he starts his own family with the rich, talented Gisela. They have a son but many doubt their love for the child. Years go by, with Robert shuffled back and forth between an indifferent father, and his grandparents’ homes. As the boy grows up, he tries to find out who he really is. Oskar Roehler, considered one of the bad boys of German film, here revisits the theme of his roots – which he has dealt with before – first in his novel Origin (Herkunft, 2011) and now in its film adaptation. From the atmosphere of postwar Germany and the economic miracle – which included everything from garden gnomes and intellectual revolt to punk and West Berlin – to the beginning of the 1980s, the author employs characteristic volatility in presenting three generations of his family set against the backdrop of his country’s history. In the occasionally halting flow of his narrative, with its bitterly critical tone, a romantic sensitivity shines through that sometimes borders on a justifiable sentimentality.

About the director

Oskar Roehler (b. 1959, Starnberg, Germany) is the son of writers Gisela Elsner and Klaus Roehler. He has lived in Berlin since the beginning of the 1980s, working as a screenwriter, journalist, and author of plays and stories. Since the mid 1990s he has focused mainly on film direction. His writer-director effort Silvester Countdown (1997) was screened in 1998 at KVIFF, where two years later the protagonist of his film No Place to Go (Die Unberührbare), Hannelore Elsner, took Best Actress. Selected filmography: Gentleman (1995), Suck My Dick (2001), Angst (Der alte Affe Angst, 2003), Agnes and His Brothers (Agnes und seine Brüder, 2004), Atomized (Elementarteilchen, 2006 – Best Actor Silver Bear at Berlin for Moritz Bleibtreu), Lulu & Jimi (2009), Jew Süss – Rise and Fall (Jud Süss – Film ohne Gewissen, 2010). In 2011 he published his first book, Origin (Herkunft).


The Match Factory
Domstrasse 60, 50668, Cologne
Tel: +49 221 539 709-0
E-mail: [email protected], [email protected]

About the film

Color, DCP
International premiere

Section: Official Selection - Competition
Director: Oskar Roehler
Screenplay: Oskar Roehler podle vlastního románu / based on his novel
Dir. of Photography: Carl-Friedrich Koschnick
Music: Martin Todsharow
Editor: Peter R. Adam
Producer: Stefan Arndt, Uwe Schott, Oliver Berben
Production: X Filme Creative Pool GmbH
Cast: Jürgen Vogel, Meret Becker, Moritz Bleibtreu, Lavinia Wilson, Kostja Ullman
Contact: The Match Factory


Oskar Roehler

Film Director / Producer, Film Director

Stefan Arndt


Manuela Stehr


Lisa Smit


Brigitte Suárez

Sales Agent


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