The Writer's Shadow

Year of production: 1995

 
    Author Robert David is famous primarily for some
more of less trivial detective stories. As the story
begins, his latest work is in manuscript, but unlike
his previous thrillers this novel revolves around
the responsibility of the author to himself and his
characters - embodied not in theoretical phrases
but rather woven into an exciting plot packed
with comic and thrilling aspects. It's "your best
work ever!" says his friend Max, who is especially
crazy about the female protagonist Sarah, who
has fallen in love with Robert in the process of his
writing the book.

One morning, as described in the novel, Sarah
shows up at his door, pestering him with question
about her origin. Robert throws Sarah, thinking
at first that he is hallucinating, or that a friend is
playing a trick on him. Sarah though stays close
at Robert's heals, not letting him out of her sight
and throwing him into many compromising
situations. No matter how hard he ties, the
author is powerless against such a strong literary
character.

After Sarah has read the manuscript and found
out a bit about herself, she decides to move in
with Robert and demands that he rewrite the
novel, specifically the ending. Robert refuses,
out of pride and defiance: The real-life Sarah is
not at all on a par with the lovable, soft, literary
Sarah. And still she seems to more than fascinate
him, as the events in the novel begin to take
place in reality; Robert is beaten to death by a
jealous police officer, with whose wife he has had
an affair. Sarah, however, does not want to take
responsibility for the author's death; she commits
a felony in order to get arrested and be able to
disrupt the novel's prescribed course of action of
the novel in reality. What happens to a person
who claims (in this case rightfully) only to know
his or her own first name? Someone who doesn't
know where they were born, cannot talk about
their education, which was never documented?

"Well, a person who doesn't exist is best 'taken
care of' in the psychiatric ward," says the police
commissioner. Sarah seems to have achieved her
goal. Like a mad man, Robert begins writing a
biography of his main character and gets her false
identification papers through friends. A great
celebration is planned for the day of her release,
but the police officer takes his revenge by tricking
Robert, and Sarah remains imprisoned. With the
help of a friend, Robert frees Sarah and the
subsequent getaway leads them to a showdown
on a wooden bridge - just as in the novel.
Featuring:
Hans-Werner Meyer
Gudrun Tielsch
Gerhard
Haase-Hindenberg
Birgit Zamulo
Hans-Dieter Knebel
Silvia Fenz
Johannes Silberschneider
Wolfgang Gasser

Director:
Niki List

Screenplay:
Bernhard Schärfl

Music:
Peter Janda
Martin Lichtenwallner

Camera:
Martin Stingl

Set design:
Peter Krychl
Hans Jager

Editing:
Ingrid Koller