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CLU to show German psychological drama

Award-winning film depicts prison social experiment
February 13, 2014

“Das Experiment” won the People’s Choice Award at the Istanbul International Film Festival and the Audience Award at the Bergen International Film Festival and was nominated for other international awards.

(THOUSAND OAKS, Calif. – Feb. 13, 2014) California Lutheran University will present a free screening of a German psychological drama on Wednesday, March 5, as part of its International Film Series.

“Das Experiment,” which was filmed in German with English subtitles, will be shown at 7 p.m. in the Lundring Events Center.

The fine line between play-acting and reality is blurred beyond recognition in this 2001 movie about a social experiment. The film is based on the novel “Black Box” by Mario Giordano. The movie resembles Philip Zimbardo’s Stanford prison experiment of 1971 in the beginning, but then it takes the story to a fictionalized conclusion.

Tarek Fahd, a journalist making ends meet by driving a taxi, sees an advertisement offering 4,000 marks to people willing to submit to a psychological experiment. He arrives to discover that half of the volunteers will pose as prison guards and the other half will be their prisoners. Before long, quarrels arise and the wardens employ ever more drastic sanctions to confirm their authority.

German actor Moritz Bleibtreu received an Audience Award Best Actor nomination for his portrayal of Fahd, prisoner #77, at the 2001 European Film Awards. Known for his work on the 1998 film “Run Lola Run” and last year’s “World War Z,” Bleibtreu won the Silver Berlin Bear Best Actor Award in 2006 for “Elementarteilchen” at the Berlin International Film Festival and the Ernst Lubitsch Award in 1998 for “Knockin’ on Heaven’s Door” and “Stadtgespräch.”

Director Oliver Hirschbiegel is an award-winning television director, writer and producer who made his cinema debut with “Das Experiment.” He won both the 2001 Best Director Award at the Montreal World Film Festival and the Bavarian Film Award for Best Direction for his work on the film. He won the Directing Award for World Cinema – Dramatic for “Five Minutes of Heaven” at the 2009 Sundance Film Festival.

“Das Experiment” won the People’s Choice Award at the Istanbul International Film Festival and the Audience Award at the Bergen International Film Festival and was nominated for other international awards.

CLU’s department of languages and cultures is sponsoring the International Film Series with a grant from the CLU Community Leaders Association. Inspired by the six-year success of the university’s French Film Festival, faculty members replaced the event with the international festival this year. The series will conclude with the French film “Chicken with Plums” April 30 at Muvico Thousand Oaks 14.

For information, contact Walter Stewart at stewart@callutheran.edu or 805-493-3436.

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