In November 1980, filmmaker Volker Schlöndorff came to Beirut to film Circle of Deceit (in German Die Fälschung), based on a novel by the writer Nicolas Born. The film is about a journalist who revolts against the tendency in his profession to focus only on the violence of war in order to satisfy Western audiences, in a way that falsifies reality, hence the film’s title. At the time, Schlöndorff, one of Germany’s most prominent postwar directors and a major figure in the New German Cinema movement, had just won an Oscar for The Tin Drum, as well as the Palme d’Or at the Cannes film festival.
Instead of doing what many directors might have done and leverage this to make commercially successful films in Hollywood (that would come later), he traveled to Lebanon at the height of its civil war to make his next movie. He brought with him several well-known actors—Hanna Schygulla, Bruno Ganz, Jerzy Skolimowski, and Jean Carmet—and spent almost six months in the country. To mark the 40th anniversary of the film’s release, in early February Diwan interviewed Schlöndorff via Zoom at his home in Potsdam, so that he could take us back to that singular experience.
German Trailer of Circle of Deceit