22.04. ‐ 27.04.2025


Matthias Glasner

A family that has not been a family for a long time. It is only when Lissy’s (Corinna Harfouch) husband Gerd (Hans-Uwe Bauer), who suffered from dementia, dies and she is struck down by an incurable illness that the mother and her two children are reunited. At the centre of this episodic film, however, is her son, conductor Tom (Lars Eidinger), who is working on his magnum opus with his depressive friend, composer Bernard (Robert Gwisdek). Finally, there is Tom’s highly intelligent sister Ellen (Lilith Stangenberg), a dentist’s assistant, whose love to dry martinis leads the viewer from one intoxication to the next. 

Much of Sterben is very close to the reality of the German Bildungsbürgertum. The ugly mask of concealment and repression is ruthlessly torn from the face. Glasner’s drama is in many ways a highlight of German filmmaking and not without reason the closing film of the 17th LICHTER Film Festival.

More information Lichter FilmfestLichter Filmfest

Direction Matthias Glasner
Country Germany
Year 2024
Duration 180 min
Language German
Production Jan Krüger, Ulf Israel, Matthias Glasner
Cast Lars Eidinger, Corinna Harfouch, Lilith Stangenberg, Ronald Zehrfeld, Robert Gwisdek
Camera Jakub Bejnarowicz
Script Matthias Glasner
Editing Heike Gnida
Sound Christoph Schilling
Music Lorenz Dangel
Sound Design Christoph Walter, Nils Vogel-Bartling

Berlinale 2024: Silver Bear for Best Screenplay

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About the Director

Matthias Glasner was born in Hamburg in 1965 and has been an enthusiastic cinema-goer since the age of six. He made his first Super8 short film when he was eight years old. In his psychological dramas, the director, screenwriter and producer frequently subjects his audience to a tough test of endurance. With Sterben, Glasner has created an ensemble film with an outstanding cast, poignant dialogue and a great deal of emotion. The film was awarded the Silbernen Bären for its impressive screenplay at the 74th Berlinale.

Press reviews

“One of the most unromantic films I have ever seen.” (Lars Eidinger)

“Ruthlessly honest and direct family drama.” (Deutschlandfunk Kultur)

“Matthias Glasner has packed the fullness of life with all its highs and lows, with illness, death, drunkenness, intoxication and ecstasy, with melancholy and depression into this film.” (rbb 24)

“Glasner’s films are often built close to failure because they are not afraid of the exceptional states of the heart, the excesses of love and self-destruction. One can only hope Sterben will also find its place with audiences, who is this country are happy to settle for the sentimental.” (F.A.Z.)


Future German Cinema

© Jakub Bejnarowicz
© Jakub Bejnarowicz
© Jakub Bejnarowicz
© Jakub Bejnarowicz
© Jakub Bejnarowicz