The timpani

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Original title The timpani
Country of production Germany
original language German
Publishing year 1967 (uncertain) or 1981
length 87 minutes
Age rating FSK 16
Director Franz Seitz Episode 1
Rolf Thiele Episode 2
Bernhard Wicki Episode 3
Volker Schlöndorff and Herbert Rimbach Episode 4
Helmut Meewes Episode 5
script Franz Seitz Episode 1
Rolf Thiele Episode 2
Bernhard Wicki and Helmut Qualtinger Episode 3
Volker Schlöndorff and Herbert Rimbach Episode 4
Franz Seitz and Helmut Meewes Episode 5
production Franz Seitz
music Rolf A. Wilhelm
Hans Werner Henze
camera Werner Kurz
Helmut Meewes
Peter Reimer
cut Klaus Dudenhöfer
Claus by Boro
Jane Seitz

The dance of the grieving child

Bell Tönin Bim

The tear

An eerie moment

Military spook

The Timpani is an episode film composed of five short films from 1967. Directed by Helmut Meewes , Bernhard Rimbach , Volker Schlöndorff , Franz Seitz , Rolf Thiele and Bernhard Wicki .


An episode film inspired by drawings by Paul Klee , which aims to assemble a mosaic-like image of a reality in which the individual is subject to social constraints and public violence.

First episode: "The dance of the grieving child"

On the outskirts of Munich, several anti-social youths celebrate the success of their small and insignificant raids in a poor nightclub every day. The seven-year-old daughter of a decision maker adores the leader of the youth gang. When this young man shows resistance during a police raid and is shot dead, the girl begins a dance dedicated to him.

Second episode: "Glockentönin Bim"

The young Marie Louise was once married to a senior civil servant, but became a widow at an early age. All that remains for her now is Friedrich Hofstetter, her childhood sweetheart. Both have always felt deeply and deeply connected, but for economic reasons they never married. Very late, the two now old lovers want to take this final step, which is supposed to underline their togetherness. But it is too late: Friedrich dies shortly before the marriage.

Third episode: "The tear"

A hardened and cynical journalist who works as a reporter for a tabloid, travels to Yugoslavia with a colleague, a photographer responsible for the picture part of the story, for an information tour. When he observed a young couple there, he stiffened into the assertion that there really is no such thing as true love and human happiness. With a nasty trick he succeeds in substantiating his thesis.

Fourth episode: "An Eerie Moment"

Franzl is a pretty immature and spoiled teenage kid who doesn't understand the consequences of his actions. He thinks it is funny to shoot things with his small bore rifle from his parents' apartment window. Sometimes it's old mattresses, sometimes cooking pots. But the residents panic because they believe that a mad gunman is up to mischief. The alarmed police and the fire brigade approached and, spurred on by the hysteria that had arisen among onlookers and alleged witnesses, began to smoke out the “madman with the gun”.

Fifth episode: "Military Spook"

In the last part, a World War II veteran is at the center of the action. The Colonel General is a worthy officer, in whose honor a big tattoo is to be carried out on the eve of his 80th birthday. On the occasion of his parade as part of the military ceremony, the old warrior begins to think about the mistakes he made in a winter battle for which he was once responsible and in which many young soldiers lost their lives. After so many years, the long-suppressed pangs of conscience finally report to him.

Production notes

The timpani was made in different months of 1967 at different locations in the Federal Republic of Germany and in Yugoslavia (third episode, on the banks of the Sava near Belgrade). The film happened on December 21, 1967 the FSK. It cannot be proven whether there was a performance (presumably as part of a closed event) at that time. The film was officially shown for the first time, very late on January 23, 1981 in the municipal cinema in Frankfurt am Main. The mass start was in July 1983.

There is disagreement among the sources about the order of the individual episodes. The production company Franz Seitz Filmproduktion, Munich, states the order given above.


In the lexicon of international films it is written: "Although the claim is not always convincingly fulfilled, an attractive cinematic document - after all, prominent filmmakers were involved."

Individual evidence

  1. An eerie moment, for example, in February / March 1967, whereas the tear not until September / October 1967
  2. The timpani. In: Lexicon of International Films . Film service , accessed December 3, 2015 .Template: LdiF / Maintenance / Access used 

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