Herr von Bohlen



The film tells the story of the last offspring of a powerful German family whose cannons killed countless people in two world wars: Arndt von Bohlen and Halbach – the last Krupp.
Unwilling to fulfill the expectations of both his family and their company, this homosexual son of an industrialist waived his inheritance of around three and a half billion marks. Or, to see it differently, was pushed into relinquishing a world dynasty because he was unable to lead it. With an annual settlement of two million German marks, Arndt withdrew into another world. In his residences on the German island of Sylt, in Marrakesh, Castle Blühnbach in Salzburg and Palm Beach the extravagant bonvivant gathered a fairy tale royal household around him - and yet remained a lonely and withdrawn man for his whole life. Arndt von Bohlen und Halbach whose debauched lifestyle became legendary in the 60s and 70s, degenerated into a ridiculed outsider. Even the 'Stern' magazine ran the headline 'Of the Life of a Good-for-Nothing'. Envy and incomprehension made him an object of hate in Germany and the film relates the story of a bitter farce exposing the mercilessness of German tabloid newspapers.
HERR VON BOHLEN is more than just a flamboyant portrait of a rich man about town; it is a portrait of manners and morals at the beginning of the Federal Republic of Germany, which after two world wars had produced people which society was obviously not prepared for. Amongst them, 'the richest early pensioner in Germany' was financially not only dependent on the will of Berthold Beitz’ and the 'Alfried Krupp von Bohlen and Halbach Foundation', but also suffering under a totally unresolved tax situation right up until his death in 1986. This also makes it a crime film about inheritance and relinquishment, money and power – and the guilt of a great family.HERR VON BOHLEN is neither a documentary nor a feature film. It allows some of Arndt’s important contemporaries to have their say as well as blurring the line between fiction and 'reality'. It takes place at the end of the 1970s and a reporter is accompanying Arndt von Bohlen on a directed journey to important places from his life.
The film covers industrial history, war history and the history of how people thought – and about a tragic life which seemed so emotionally immature for the attacks it received. And it tries to explain what it was like to be different - and living out those differences in the 1960s with the heavy burden of tradition lingering in the background. The film ultimately tells the story of an enigmatic personality unique in German history – Arndt von Bohlen and Halbach – the last Krupp.

Director's Biography

Born in Troisdorf, Germany, in 1966, André Schäfer studied History and Journalism at the Ludwig-Maximilians-University and the German School of Journalism, both in Munich. He graduated in 1992 and worked as a freelance journalist for Die Zeit, Frankfurter Rundschau, Kölner StadtAnzeiger and taz. Since 1999he is a freelance director for WDR, ARD, stern TV, 3sat, ZDF and ARTE. From April 1999 until May 2002 he worked as editor and journalist for the „Kultur aktuell“series („Culture Today“) of the Westdeutscher Rundfunk in Cologne.
Since 2002 he is partner of FLORIANFILM GmbH, Cologne




Cast & Crew

Directed by: André Schäfer

Written by: André Schäfer

Produced by: Jonas Niewianda

Cinematography: Andy Lehmann

Editing: Fritz Busse

Production Design: Annette Lofy

Costume Design: Matthias Vöcking

Make-Up & Hair: Angelika John

Original Score: Ritchie Staringer

Sound Design: Christoph Német

Main Cast: Arnd Klawitter (Arndt von Bohlen und Halbach)

Nominations and Awards

  • Documentary Selection 2016