Papillon (2017)

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German title Papillon
Original title Papillon
Country of production United States
original language English , Spanish
Publishing year 2017
length 117 minutes
Age rating FSK 12
Director Michael Noer
script Dalton Trumbo ,
Lorenzo Semple Jr.
music David Buckley
camera Hagen Bogdanski
cut John Axelrad ,
Lee Haugen

Papillon is a film drama by Michael Noer , which premiered on September 7, 2017 as part of the Toronto International Film Festival and is based on the autobiographical novel of the same name by the French writer Henri Charrière and its film adaptation from 1973. The film was released in German cinemas on July 26, 2018 and in US cinemas on August 24, 2018.


Henri "Papillon" Charrière is accused of murder in France and is sentenced to life imprisonment in the notorious penal colony of St. Laurent in French Guiana in the 1930s . On the way there he made the acquaintance of the forger Louis Dega, who was also sentenced to a long prison term. This was able to smuggle large amounts of money into prison. After Papillon helps Dega when he is attacked by other inmates, the strange men make a pact: Papillon protects Dega from his fellow inmates, in return Dega supports him in the planned escape with his money. Several attempts to escape fail and over the years the pact develops into a friendship that is more valuable than one's own life.


The film is based on the novel Papillon by the French writer Henri Charrière

Papillon is based on the partly autobiographical novel of the same name by the French writer Henri Charrière , who was sentenced to life in French Guiana for manslaughter. The novel was published in 1969 and is the first of two novels to contain many autobiographical elements. Charrière tells of his imprisonment in French Guiana, for example on Devil's Island, but also of his numerous attempts to escape. The second novel is titled Banco . The film is a remake of Franklin J. Schaffner's 1973 adventure classic Papillon and is based on the same script. Carsten Baumgardt von Filmstarts thinks that Schaffner hit exactly the spirit of the book four years later with his emotionally overwhelming film adaptation. The film, first film in 1973, had 8.5 million viewers in Germany.


Charlie Hunnam , here a few months after filming was finished, took on the role of
Henri "Papillon" Charrière in the film

Directed by Michael Noer , the adaptation of Charrière's novel was already done for the film version from 1973 by Dalton Trumbo and Lorenzo Semple Jr. Sascha Westphal from epd Film noted, the director emphasizes the aspect of Charrière's autobiographical novel that Papillon is on Dega because of the money and only gradually both realize that they need each other for completely different reasons, much more so than Franklin J. Schaffner in his film adaptation from 1973. Michael Noer could break away from the overpowering role model and at the same time open up spaces for his two main actors Steve McQueen and Dustin Hoffman were locked.

While Schaffner's film began with the governor's appeal that there were two more guardians on the island, the jungle and the sea, Noer shows something that does not appear in the original, explains Kerstin Decker from Tagesspiegel : “It is by no means secondary for the viewer either to know the history of a person who he cannot avoid in any setting for over two hours. ”Schaffner Papillon had saved the history of the convict for his first encounter with the forger Louis Dega.

Charlie Hunnam took on the role of Henri "Papillon" Charrière in the film , while Rami Malek played his fellow prisoner Louis Dega.

The German dubbing was based on a dialogue book and the dialogue direction by Christoph Cierpka . Björn Schalla lends his voice to Louis Dega, played by Malek , in the German version of the character Henri Charrière played by Hunnam and Bastian Sierich .

The shooting took place from September 2016 in Belgrade and the Montenegrin cities of Ulcinj, Kotor and Niksic. In November 2016 the film was shot in Kalkara and Rabat on Malta.

The film music was composed by David Buckley . The soundtrack for the film, which comprises a total of 12 pieces of music, was released by BMG as a download on August 24, 2018.

The film premiered on September 7, 2017 at the Toronto International Film Festival . From June 24th 2018 it was screened at the Edinburgh International Film Festival . The film was released in German cinemas on July 26, 2018 and in US cinemas on August 24, 2018.


Cut versions and age rating

For the German theatrical release, Constantin had cut the work from 133 minutes to 117 minutes, as it seemed too long to the distributor with a running time of over two hours.

In the USA, the film received an R rating from the MPAA , which corresponds to a rating of 17 and over. In Germany it was approved by the FSK from the age of 12, but allowed from the age of 6 if accompanied by the parents. The statement of reasons for the release states: “The film depicts the brutal everyday life in the penal colony with sadistic guards and fights between the prisoners. However, the violence is in no way glorified or advocated. Rather, positive values ​​such as friendship, loyalty and perseverance are in the foreground. Thanks to the historical context and the exotic location, children aged 12 and over can distance themselves sufficiently from the events. ”Martin Schwickert notes in the General-Anzeiger that, like the original, Noer's re-enactment does not shy away from drastic staging of violence. According to Schwickert, these sequences are set in stark contrast to the impressive nature shots.

Reviews and comparison with the original film

Directed by Michael Noer

Sascha Westphal from epd Film says that Michael Noer pays a price for his existentialist approach, and that his adaptation cannot keep up with Schaffner's film in terms of atmosphere: “While you can literally feel the sultry heat of French Guiana in old Papillon , Noer's jungle scenes leave you behind cold. Noer wants to stage the Devil's Island as a place of existential despair, where everyone goes crazy at some point, but he often gets lost in picturesque details that irritate the viewer rather than frighten them. ”Westphal, Charlie Hunnam , not only the Papillon says of the protagonists portraying as a man of action and Rami Malek , whose Louis Dega also has an extremely dark side, subverted the classic clichés of prison films as well as the adventure genre. In her scenes, Papillon achieved a density that was almost theatrical, according to Westphal.

For Knut Elstermann from MDR Kultur , the Danish director's staging is a bit too smooth, too exotic and too superficial, which means that the existential drama is not conveyed clearly enough in the pictures.

Katja Nicodemus from NDR Kultur thinks that the problem of the Papillon remake is the same as with so many new films: “A subject is told again, but its atmosphere, its background, its attitude towards life are lost. The revolts and freedom movements of the 1970s were also reflected in the freedom and flight movements of the original film. The new film takes place in an atmospheric nowhere. This is also due to his leaked photography. The sea rages deep blue, the jungle looks almost unreal green - and Charlie Hunnam's muscles are somehow sexy in scene even on his emaciated body. "

Kerstin Decker from Tagesspiegel thinks that a remake should already have something of this power when a single person, who is ultimately stronger than an entire judicial apparatus, is at the center of a story: “Art is sometimes almost as cruel as the penal system: Man doesn't even have to be bad. The verdict lies in making the original shine even more. "

Martin Schwickert writes about the two main actors in the General-Anzeiger that one could certainly argue about whether they came close to the performances of Steve McQueen and Dustin Hoffman in the original. Nonetheless, Hunnam and Malek are the main reason why this basically superfluous remake should be seen. Hunnam is currently one of the most interesting British newcomers, because he always derives the strength of his characters from the masculine physicality and from the internal contradictions of the characters, continues Schwickert. Malek acted towards him with a calm intensity: "Such male friendships, in which those involved complement each other in their diversity beyond all the clichés of cronies, are still a real rarity in the cinema today."

Web links

Individual evidence

  1. ^ Certificate of Release for Papillon . Voluntary self-regulation of the film industry (PDF; test number: 179457 / K). Template: FSK / maintenance / type not set and Par. 1 longer than 4 characters
  3. a b
  7. David Buckley to Score 'Papillon' Remake. In:, June 30, 2017.
  10. Start dates in Germany . In: Retrieved June 16, 2018.
  12. Papillon. In: Retrieved June 16, 2018.
  13. ^ Reasons for the release of Papillon . In: Voluntary self-regulation of the film industry. Retrieved July 26, 2018.
  14. a b