Carlos - the jackal

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German title Carlos - the jackal
Original title Carlos / Le prix du Chacal
Country of production France , Germany
original language English , Arabic , German , Spanish , French , Hungarian , Japanese , Russian
Publishing year 2010
length Short version: 187 minutes,
long version: 331 minutes
Age rating FSK 16
Director Olivier Assayas
script Olivier Assayas,
Dan Franck ,
Daniel Leconte
production Jens Meurer ,
Daniel Leconte
camera Yorick Le Saux ,
Denis Lenoir
cut Luc Barnier ,
Marion Monnier

Carlos - The Jackal is a Franco-German film biography from 2010 that tells the life of the Venezuelan terrorist Ilich Ramírez Sánchez alias Carlos in a fictionalized form . The leading role was played by the Venezuelan actor Édgar Ramírez .

The film was shown at the Cannes International Film Festival in 2010 and was released on November 5, 2010 in a five-hour version and a version shortened to three hours. Due to its extreme length, the film was also broadcast as a three-part mini - series in some countries .


The Venezuelan Marxist Ilich Ramírez Sánchez committed numerous terrorist attacks from the early 1970s under the battle name "Carlos", initially on behalf of the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP). In 1974, for example, he coordinated a hostage-taking by the Japanese Red Army in the French embassy in The Hague . When his PFLP contact, Michel Moukharbal, is arrested and, after lengthy interrogation, leads the police to his hiding place, he shoots two police officers and Moukharbal and then flees to Beirut .

Despite the controversial killing of Moukharbal, the PFLP leader Wadi Haddad entrusted him with the OPEC hostage-taking , which Sánchez carried out in Vienna at the end of December 1975 with a six-member terror squad, including Hans-Joachim Klein and Gabriele Kröcher-Tiedemann . After lengthy negotiations, the terrorists and hostages in a be Douglas DC-9 of the Austrian Airlines to Algiers flown. Later, Carlos and his accomplices can travel to Libya unhindered . There, however, the Libyan government refuses to contact him, so that Carlos has to fly back to Algiers. The originally planned killing of the Saudi Arabian oil minister Ahmed Zaki Yamani and his Iranian colleague Jamshid Amuzegar will not be carried out after Carlos agreed with the negotiators for a large sum to release the remaining hostages. The Algerian government allows him to return to South Yemen. Failure to obey Haddad leads to a break with him, he regards the action as a failure and expels Carlos from the organization. The hijacking of an Air France plane, actually intended for Carlos, is instead organized by Carlos' companions Wilfried Böse and Brigitte Kuhlmann , who were shot dead by an Israeli special unit on July 4, 1976 during Operation Entebbe .

Carlos has been planning his own actions since then and carries out attacks on behalf of the Iraqi and later the Syrian government. Then he settles in Budapest . In East Berlin he negotiates with representatives of the Stasi . Carlos remains in close contact with the German revolutionary cells . In particular, he continues to work with Johannes Weinrich and his future wife Magdalena Kopp . Kopp and a Swiss terrorist attempt to carry out a bomb attack against a Syrian newspaper in exile in Paris, but are arrested before the action is complete. Carlos tries to extort them and hits France with a series of attacks. After Kopp has served a reduced sentence, she goes to Carlos in Beirut, where she gives birth to a daughter.

After the political upheavals in the European Eastern Bloc countries and the opening of the Iron Curtain , Carlos lost numerous advocates and travel opportunities at the same time as the Cold War ended . Syria and Libya deport him and he withdraws to Sudan , where he is arrested on August 14, 1994 after years of searching by various secret services. He is brought to France by the French secret service DST , where he has to answer for some of his crimes in a Paris court. The film ends with the fade-in of what became of the most important companions and Carlos. He is serving a life sentence in France.


The original version of the film was shot in several languages. Mainly French , English and German are spoken, and to a lesser extent Arabic and Spanish . In addition, performers from Japan , Hungary or the Soviet Union also speak in their respective national language; the meaning is always given by subtitles. Leading actor Édgar Ramírez, like his historical role model Ilich Ramírez Sánchez, is multilingual. The film was completely dubbed for the German-speaking area.


Carlos - The Jackal was first shown out of competition in a five and a half hour version at the Cannes International Film Festival in May 2010 ; At the end of May it was broadcast as a three-part miniseries on the French television channel Canal + . The cinema version was shortened to 187 minutes; it ran on November 4, 2010 in German cinemas.

The DVD versions were released in Germany on May 27, 2011. In addition to the DVD of the cinema version , an extended version with the director's cut was offered on four DVDs; the Blu-ray version includes the director's cut on two discs and the cinema version on another disc. TV viewers in Germany were able to watch the film in a three-part version for the first time on October 20th (the first two parts) and October 21st, 2011 from 8.15pm see on ARTE .


The film received mostly positive to very positive reviews.

“Olivier Assayas' epic terrorism drama both justifies and demystifies the“ Carlos myth ”. This ticket to the world of Ilich Ramírez Sánchez should not be missed by anyone who is politically interested, who wants to know more than the RAF stories or who simply enjoys great cinema. "

"Olivier Assayas' 330-minute film" Carlos - The Jackal "is a cleverly rhythmic, never overheated tour de force and, despite all the attention to detail, never loses sight of the bow."

- Christiane Peitz

“The great quality of“ Carlos - The Jackal ”, on the other hand, lies in the fact that Assayas takes the necessary time and shows an impressive sensitivity for details and trivialities. At the same time, he stages enough impulsively that you don't get bored in the five and a half hours; the soundtrack contributes a good part. "

- Cristina Nord

“Opulent portrait of a notorious radical left-wing terrorist. Exciting, complex and only loses momentum towards the end. "

“A compelling rival to Spielberg's similarly themed Munich , and way ahead of the ropey The Baader Meinhof Complex , Carlos also knocks Steven Soderbergh's Che diptych into a cocked beret. This is one of the most provocative, illuminating and downright riveting films of the year - every last minute of it. "

- Jonathan Romney

"The film tells - and it makes it gripping and convincing - the path of a man who remains inexplicable because he acts out of hubris."

“How Assayas dissolves the complexity of alliances in motion in his geopolitical thriller, how he maintains control in the chaos of the Opec attack, how he unfolds an entire age in view of his protagonist, that's a small miracle that you can do if possible should have seen in full length. "

The film rating portal Rotten Tomatoes leads the film with a rating of 94% from critics and 86% from viewers:

“Despite its hefty running time, Carlos moves along briskly, thanks to an engaging story, exotic locales, and a breakout performance by Edgar Ramirez. (Despite its juicy running time, Carlos moves nimbly, thanks to an engaging story, exotic locations and an outstanding performance by Edgar Ramirez.) "

- Rotten Tomatoes

Roger Ebert called Carlos a “terrifying portrait of an egomaniac” and a “powerful film”.

In 2016, Carlos took a shared 100th place in a BBC poll of the 100 most important films of the 21st century .

Thomas Kram, a former member of the Revolutionary Cells (RZ), said in an interview that parts of the RZ were misrepresented in the film.

Awards (selection)

Édgar Ramírez with his César as the best young actor

Web links

Individual evidence

  1. Filmverleih (accessed December 15, 2011)
  2. ^ Carlos - Filmstarts criticism at, accessed on April 26, 2012
  3. Film review: Carlos - The Jackal at, accessed on April 26, 2012
  4. Assayas' film about Carlos: Drunk by himself at, accessed on April 26, 2012
  5. ^ Carlos - The Jackal at, accessed on April 26, 2012
  6. Carlos, Olivier Assayas, 338 mins (full version), 165 mins (abridged) at, accessed April 26, 2012
  7. Terrorist biopic "Carlos": On the edge with the cool killer (accessed on December 15, 2011)
  8. The Salesman of Terror: "Carlos - The Jackal" (accessed on December 15, 2011)
  9. Carlos (2010) (accessed December 15, 2011)
  10. ^ Carlos at, accessed April 26, 2012
  11. ANDREAS FANIZADEH / CHRISTOPH VILLINGER: " Do you give someone a weapon who you want to kill?" In: Die Tageszeitung: taz . October 23, 2010, ISSN  0931-9085 , p. 22–23 ( [accessed on May 18, 2018]).