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Die Fälschung (French title: Le Faussaire; English title: Circle of Deceit) is an anti-war film[2] directed by Volker Schlöndorff and internationally released in 1981. An international co-production, it was an adaptation of Nicolas Born's novel of the same name, which had appeared in 1979. The film follows a German journalist sent to Beirut to report on the Lebanese Civil War, which had begun in 1975.

Die Fälschung
Die Fälschung.jpg
Directed byVolker Schlöndorff
Produced byEberhard Junkersdorf
Anatole Dauman
Based onDie Fälschung
by Nicolas Born
StarringBruno Ganz
Hanna Schygulla
Jerzy Skolimowski
Gila von Weitershausen
Music byMaurice Jarre
Distributed byKino International
Release date
  • 28 October 1981 (1981-10-28) (France)
Running time
110 minutes[1]
CountryWest Germany, France, Lebanon
LanguageGerman, English, French



Journalist Georg Laschen (Bruno Ganz) is sent to Beirut, where he is supposed to report on the local civil war.[3] His feelings about this mission are influenced by the fact that his marriage to his wife Greta (Gila von Weitershausen) back home is dysfunctional,[3] and the conflict in Lebanon remains incomprehensible to him.[4][5]

He feels that his comments and his own problems to understand the situation[6] don't really count[7] because violence sells anyway.[8] Subsequently he feels that his reports aren't real journalism and by pretending to be that they can downright be considered deceit (or in German: Fälschung).

After a fling with a local lady named Arianna[9] (Hanna Schygulla) he happens to kill a man.[1] He realises how relatively easily one's moral standards can be corrupted in a violent environment and how hard or even impossible it is to remain unbiased[10] as a journalist.[11][12]


The film was shot on location in Beirut.[2] The Lebanese Civil War, which began in 1975, would continue until 1990. The New York Times remarked that it was "filmed in 1980 under remarkable conditions: with its crew confined to "safe" portions of Beirut while the fighting went on elsewhere, but with ubiquitous evidence of real warfare everywhere."[13]


The New York Times described it as "a balanced, thoughtful, extremely moving vision of wartime tragedy."[13]


The film was nominated for the César Award for Best Foreign Film in 1981. Jerzy Skolimowski won the Best Supporting Actor Deutscher Filmpreis in 1982, for his role as the war photographer Hoffmann.


The original soundtrack music composed by Maurice Jarre for Le Faussaire was released on CD in 2013 by Canadian label Disques Cinemusique. More information here.[permanent dead link]


  1. ^ a b c "Die Fälschung". VolkerSchlö Archived from the original on March 23, 2012. Retrieved 2011-04-26.CS1 maint: unfit url (link)
  2. ^ a b "German Filmmakers and Movies". Goethe Institut. Retrieved 2011-04-26.
  3. ^ a b "Plot Summary for Die Fälschung". IMDb. Retrieved 2011-04-26.
  4. ^ "the film stands as an extraordinary accomplishment in the way it reveals the new types of warfare emerging in the world close-up, conflicts that journalists like Laschen and Hoffmann were unaccustomed to covering". Retrieved 2011-04-26.
  5. ^ "But what you see is the bodycount". Retrieved 2011-04-26.
  6. ^ "Der von seiner Todessehnsucht getriebene Laschen wird tagtäglich von der orientalischen Vielfalt des Landes überwältigt (Laschen, driven by his desire to die, is day by day overwhelmed by the oriental complexity of this country)". Retrieved 2011-04-26.
  7. ^ "Bruno Ganz plays a West German journalist whose frequent assignments to war-torn nations have left him jaundiced". Retrieved 2011-04-26.
  8. ^ "Movies such as the German Die Fälschung (1981) by Volker Schlöndorff show foreign correspondents who deal with doubts about their profession and the feeling that their work is only there to satisfy the reader's addiction to catastrophes and sensations" (PDF). Retrieved 2011-04-26.
  9. ^ "He also finds another kind of danger, an affair with a beautiful widow (Hanna Schygulla)". Archived from the original on 2011-07-24. Retrieved 2011-04-26.
  10. ^ "In Beirut, listening to correspondents discussing the war, Laschen measures their prejudices against his own pro-Palestinian bias". Retrieved 2011-04-26.
  11. ^ "Probing an ethical minefield of journalism, exploitation, war, and murder, Circle of Deceit is hauntingly compassionate, shockingly realistic". Retrieved 2011-04-26.
  12. ^ "Disgusted by his editors' enthusiasm to exploit Beirut's agony, he quits, as a good rebel should". Retrieved 2011-04-26.
  13. ^ a b Janet Maslin, The New York Times, 11 February 1982, Circle of Deceit (1981): 'CIRCLE OF DECEIT,' WAR CORRESPONDENT IN BEIRUT

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