Practice German with Film: Director Tom Tykwer

German Films, Learn German

Learn German with these German language film recommendations from director/writer Tom Tykwer (Run Lola Run, The Princess and the Warrior, Babylon Berlin).

Tom Tykwer probably didn’t register on the radars of most English-speaking film audiences until his international hit Run Lola Run in 1998. The German language film catapulted Tykwer into the sights of Hollywood. By the early 2000s he was directing big name stars in English language films. Films like Heaven starring Cate Blanchett, Perfume: The Story of a Murderer starring the likes of Alan Rickman and Dustin Hoffman, The International starring Clive Owen and Naomi Watts, and Cloud Atlas starring Tom Hanks and Halle Berry.

He is a director, writer, producer and even a composer. But he hasn’t strayed completely from German cinema. This month, let’s practice German with the films and television works of Tom Tykwer.

About Tom Tykwer

Tom Tykwer was born in Wuppertal, West Germany on May 23, 1965. Film attracted him early on, with Tykwer reportedly making Super 8 films before he was even a teenager. After graduating from high school, like so many others, he moved to Berlin. Tykwer, however, failed to secure a spot in a film school and instead worked as a projectionist.

By the early 1990s, Tykwer had made several short films. In 1994, he founded X Filme Creative Pool, a production company, with three other filmmakers and producers, including director Wolfgang Becker.

Franka Potente in Tom Tykwer's Run Lola Run.

Run Lola Run (Lola rennt)

Run Lola Run is one of those classic films that not only turned the film world back on to German cinema, but also changed things in the process. In the film, Lola (Franka Potente) has twenty minutes to get 100,000DM for her boyfriend (Moritz Bleibtreu), who has lost the money he owes his drug dealer boss. If she doesn’t, he’ll be killed. What makes the film noteworthy is the way it’s told. Run Lola Run is sharp, quick and fresh. It’s a thriller with a twist and a must-see.

Franka Potente in Tom Tykwer's The Princess and the Warrior.

The Princess and the Warrior (Der Krieger und die Kaiserin)

After Tykwer’s smash hit Lola Rennt (Run Lola Run), he followed it up with Der Krieger und die Kaiserin (The Princess and the Warrior). Starring Benno Fürmann and Lola actress Franka Potente, the film focuses on Potente’s Sissi, a nurse in a mental ward, who meets Bodo, a former soldier and bank robber, who saves her life. The interaction effects Sissi deeply as she pursues Bodo.

Volker Bruch in Tom Tykwer's Babylon Berlin.

Babylon Berlin

Babylon Berlin is a collaboration between German public and private broadcasters. The television series brings to life the Weimar Republic of 1920s Berlin and leading up to the first years of the Third Reich. The television show is based on a series of books by author Volker Kutscher.

In the show Volker Bruch stars as Kommissar Gereon Rath. Rath has been recently transferred to Berlin from Cologne. He is in the capital in order to investigate a case. But things are not what they first appear. Rath suddenly finds himself in a scandalous case. He is getting far more than he originally bargained for when he arrived in Berlin.

There’s an interesting release schedule for the show. It was originally broadcast in the fall of 2017 on German pay channel Sky. In 2018, the show will be broadcast on German public TV ARD. The series is set for release internationally, including on Netflix in the United States.



Practice practice practice! Discover other great German language actors and actresses previously featured.

Tykwer photo courtesy Berlin Film Festival website. Run Lola Run and The Princess and the Warrior photos courtesy of Tykwer’s website. Babylon Berlin photo from Das Erste website and by X Filme/ Frédéric Batier. This post contains affiliate links.

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