Dani Levy

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Dani Levy at the Berlinale 2008

Dani Levy (born November 17, 1957 in Basel ) is a Swiss actor , screenwriter and director .


Levy was born to Jewish parents on November 17, 1957 in Basel. After a “wild childhood and a mediocre Abitur”, as he himself says, as well as a time as a clown and acrobat in the Basilisk circus , Levy came to the Basel Theater and became an actor. From 1977 to 1979 he gained experience there without having completed any acting training. Then he went to the USA and spent two years there as a vagabond. In 1980 he returned to Europe and met his longtime partner in Berlin, the director, screenwriter and actress Anja Franke . The couple began to make their first films together. The final decision to move to Berlin was made by Franke's father, director and actor Holger Franke , who offered Levy not only an engagement at the Rote Grütze Theater but also a place to sleep in the shared flat there . In the theater group, Levy played and staged plays for children and young people, among other things.

In 1984 he became known in German-speaking Switzerland for the role of the kitchen boy «Peperoni» in the television series Motel . In the same year he wrote the screenplay of Du mich auch together with his partner Franke . Several years passed before a producer could be found for the film project, in which both of them also played leading roles. After five years of "patient perseverance", the film was made in 1989 with a small budget and Helmut Berger as co-director. The film was an instant hit and screened at various festivals, including the Semaine de la Critique and the Cannes International Film Festival . In the Moviemento film theater in Berlin, You Me also became a cult film and was in the program for over two years. The projectionist at the time was Tom Tykwer , who was so enthusiastic about Levy's film that he screened it several times. The two filmmakers met then.

Levy and Franke's second film RobbyKallePaul (1989) describes the trials and tribulations of love in Berlin in the 1980s. Here, too, they developed the script together, directed and played the leading roles. It was the last movie together before the couple split up.

In Meschugge (1998) Maria Schrader played a leading role alongside Levy. In I was on Mars (1992) Schrader played, she and Levy were now a couple, also the lead role.

In 1994 Levy founded the film production company X-Films with Tom Tykwer, Wolfgang Becker and Stefan Arndt . Silent Night - A Festival of Love was the company's first film in 1996. It ran in the competition at the Berlinale , but was not a commercial success.

For his comedy film Alles auf Zucker! Levy and Holger Franke were awarded the Ernst Lubitsch Prize on February 14, 2005 in Berlin . The film was recognized as a «revival of the German-Jewish comedy». At the presentation of the German Film Prize 2005 Alles auf Zucker became the big winner with six awards. In addition, everything was on sugar! with over 1 million viewers but also an absolute success with the public.

On January 11, 2007, Mein Führer - The Really Truthful Truth About Adolf Hitler was shown in German cinemas, in which Helge Schneider appears as Adolf Hitler . After he had originally planned a different perspective, Levy stated in an interview on 3sat on January 8, 2007 that the version now available was better suited to "give his viewers a" certainty of conscience ". The film ran in German cinemas until May 2007 and reached almost 800,000 visitors.

Levy shot the short film Joshua for the film project Deutschland 09 , in which 13 well-known German directors were involved (including Tom Tykwer, Wolfgang Becker and Fatih Akın ) .

Life is too long started in German cinemas on August 26, 2010 . The actors were u. a. Markus Hering , Meret Becker , Veronica Ferres , Gottfried John , Heino Ferch and Elke Sommer were involved.

In 2012 Levy supported the “No Room for Abuse” campaign with free commercials. In the same year he shot the Lucerne crime scene Dirty Thursday for Swiss television about a murder in a traditional guild.

For the one-time TV project 24h Jerusalem by zero one film in cooperation with BR and Arte, Dani Levy was behind the camera as a director together with other filmmakers. 70 film crews accompanied around 90 protagonists 24 hours a day and portrayed life in the streets of Jerusalem. The format was broadcast in real time on Arte 1 year later.

In the following year he shot the television comedy Der Liebling des Himmels about a neurotic psychologist with Axel Milberg in the lead role as well as Andreja Schneider , Mario Adorf and Jenny Schily on behalf of NDR and ARD-Degeto .

But Levy is also active as an actor and theater director. He played the famous Israeli public prosecutor and politician Chaim Cohn in the award-winning drama Der Staat gegen Fritz Bauer (2015) . In the same year he staged the social satire he wrote, Swiss Beauty, at the Zurich Schauspielhaus .

Levy presented his top-class comedy Die Welt der Wunderlichs at the Munich Film Festival in 2016. It's about the single musician Mimi and her bizarre-psychotic family, who start a turbulent road trip together to fulfill Mimi's dream. Katharina Schüttler , Christiane Paul , Peter Simonischek , Steffen Groth , Martin Feifel and Hannelore Elsner play the leading roles .

In March 2018 it was announced that Levy would direct the film adaptation of the bestseller Die Kangaroo Chronicles by Marc-Uwe Kling, produced by X-Film and ZDF . The cinema release was originally planned for the end of 2019 and took place on March 5, 2020 after a postponement.

Dani Levy was one of the founding members of the German Film Academy in 2003 .

He lives with his wife, the make-up artist and filmmaker Sabine Lidl , and two children in Berlin-Schöneberg .


Levy in Vienna (2010)

Director (selection)


360 ° - Virtual Reality

  • 2018: Jerusalem Stories: Faith - Love - Hope - Fear

Music videos

Screenplay (selection)



  • 2003: Unobstructed view of the Mediterranean (a street play in collaboration with Theater Basel)
  • 2015: Swiss Beauty (Schauspielhaus Zurich)
  • 2018: The Threepenny Opera (Theater Basel)



Web links

Commons : Dani Levy  - collection of pictures, videos and audio files

Individual evidence

  1. Life is too long in the Internet Movie Database (English)
  2. TV spots are intended to raise public awareness of the problem of abuse , Der Tagesspiegel, January 11, 2013, accessed on February 12, 2017
  3. Marc-Uwe Kling: The bestseller “The Kangaroo Chronicles” is filmed. In: Spiegel Online . March 8, 2018, accessed September 24, 2019 .
  4. X Films Creative Pool produces "The Kangaroo Chronicles". Retrieved September 24, 2019 (German).
  5. ^ Reason for the special prize for directing 2018. Baden-Baden TV Film Festival, accessed on December 1, 2018 .