Dead man (film)

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Original title dead man
Country of production Germany
original language German
Publishing year 2001
length 90 minutes
Director Christian Petzold
script Christian Petzold
production Bettina Reitz
for TeamWorx
music Stefan Will
camera Hans Fromm
cut Bettina Boehler

Toter Mann is a German TV film from 2001 . The German first broadcast was on May 31, 2002 on the TV channel ARTE . The film was shown for the first time on June 3, 2002 on ZDF .


Thomas Richter is a lawyer in Stuttgart. One day when he was swimming in the indoor pool, he met the blonde Leyla when she had apparently lost her book. Gradually, Richter, who has even followed Leyla into a park, gets to know the strange woman, and the first rendezvous takes place. The two spend the evening in Richter's apartment. The next morning Leyla disappeared. Richter notices that his laptop, on which his clients' sensitive data is located, is also missing.

Richter, who is unusually emotional for his job, does not initially know what to do with the situation. However, his brother Richard gives him the idea that Leyla might have stolen the notebook. The suspicion seems to be true. Meanwhile, Leyla has gone into hiding in another city, has rented a house with a washhouse in an abandoned housing estate and has taken a job in a factory canteen.

During his search for Leyla, Richter realizes that the sudden disappearance - as well as the appearance - of the mysterious stranger is apparently connected to one of his clients, Blum. Blum had raped and killed Leyla's sister 14 years ago, for which Leyla is now seeking revenge. Leyla has meanwhile made targeted contact with Blum, who is in a rehabilitation program. On Leyla’s initiative, the two arranged to meet on an evening that Blum is aware of when she arrives at Leyla’s house, which is why Leyla is obviously interested in him. Although he sees Leyla mixing knockout drops in his drink through the kitchen door , he drinks it and loses consciousness. When he wakes up, Leyla wants revenge for her sister's death. The police alarmed by Richter arrives. Instead of stabbing Blum, who describes the committed act in detail, with the scissors, Leyla releases a handcuff; Blum breaks free and asks Leyla to go.

Blum deeply regrets the act he committed and the suffering he caused Leyla. He sympathizes with Leyla and pretends to attack her with scissors. He is shot in emergency aid by police officers storming into the apartment.


The cost of the film production was around 1.2 million euros.

Petzold shot a pure television production with Toter Mann . Recurring music in the film is the song What the World Needs Now (Is Love) (1965) by Dionne Warwick ; Too high license costs for this song, which could not have been recorded with the expected low audience, are seen as one of the reasons why the film did not make it to the cinema.


“A cleverly constructed and narrated crime thriller that condenses into a study of loneliness and inner emptiness through its artful form and masterful staging. Through the unobtrusive transformation of the conventional topic, socially irritating topics turn into irritating and important fields of experience. "

“Petzold tells in wonderfully clear pictures, the dialogues are breathtakingly economical, the actors are strict and convincing. The attitudes are laconic, reserved (...) "

- Ekkehard Knörer: Jump Cut


Web links

Individual evidence

  1. Article in Tittelbach
  2. Patricia Batlle: A film noir on German television , Spiegel online from May 31, 2002
  3. Christopher Keil: The inner calm. In: Süddeutsche Zeitung, May 31, 2002, archived from the original on February 11, 2011 ; Retrieved April 7, 2016 .
  4. Dead man. In: Lexicon of International Films . Film service , accessed March 2, 2017 .Template: LdiF / Maintenance / Access used 
  5. In: Jump Cut , Magazine for Film & Criticism (2001)
  6. ^ The dead man clears the Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung of November 24, 2002