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The princess and the warrior (Der krieger und die kaiserin)

Threat advisory: High - High risk of entertaining activities

Movie propaganda

Somewhere out there love is waiting...

They meet for the first time, after a horrible accident, underneath a truck. The sad and angry Bodo (Benno Fürmann), a small-time criminal who is always running, from himself as well as the law, and Sissi (Franka Potente), a shy, quiet nurse who works in a psychiatric clinic. Bodo saves Sissi's life, which is literally hanging by a thread, then disappears without trace. Obsessed by the incident, Sissi sets out on a mission to find the mysterious stranger, and to discover whether their paths crossed through simple blind chance or the intricate mechanisms of destiny itself.

Theatrical propaganda posters

The princess and the warrior image

Target demographic movie keyword propaganda

  • Film crime nurse romance Germany

Persons of interest

  • Franka Potente .... Sissi
  • Benno Fürmann .... Bodo
  • Joachim Kròl .... Walter
  • Lars Rudolph .... Steini
  • Melchior Beslon .... Otto
  • Ludger Pistor .... Walter Dürr
  • Sybille Jacqueline Schedwill .... Maria
  • Peter Ender .... Thomas
  • Jörg Reimers .... Wachmann
  • Marita Breuer .... Sissi's Mother
  • Natja Brunckhorst .... Bodos Frau
  • Jürgen Tarrach .... Schmatt
  • Christa Fast .... Sigrun Molke
  • Susanne Bredehöft .... Ali Goren
  • Gottfried Breitfuss .... Paul Rummenholler
  • Steffen Schult .... Bruno Kramer
  • Rolf Dennemann .... Dieter Strack
  • Tom Tykwer .... Screenwriter
  • Tom Tykwer .... Director

Cinematic intelligence sources

Intelligence analyst

Special Agent Matti

Theatrical report

The princess and the warrior is the indirect sequel to Run Lola run. The good thing is that this sequel has been written because there is another, different story to be told within the framework of the first film. The characters are different, the locations are different, the story is different, but the connection between them is solid. For some people, love is more important than anything else. The criminal underlay pulls the characters away from the boring safety of suburbia and pushes them into an arena where questions of life and death really are about life and death. That danger forces people to explore the extremes of their natures and that's where the drama comes from.

Franka plays the flip side of the aggressive, adventurous Lola with the introverted, almost painfully shy Sissi. Benno plays the left hand side of the murderous Hein (Anatomie) with the overly romantic Bodo. Damn, he's a sweet looking guy, the kind of man you want to father your children so they can get his good looks, great body beautiful eyes and luscious lips. You can bet that kissing Benno would be like licking a chocolate bar.

Oh yeah, the film. Well, apart from a whole bunch of scenes where Benno doesn't wear many clothes, there is the ongoing drama of people made from so many broken pieces that they can never be put back together again. At least not in the same way that they were created. The emotional drama and the extraordinary action combine to make a thriller that takes you places you'd rather not go. And you should.

Media intelligence (DVD)

  • Audio: Dolby Digital 5.1
  • Disc: Single side, single layer
  • Features:
    • Behind-the-scenes: Making of
    • Commentary: Tom Twyker; Tom Twyker, Franka Potente, Benno Fürmann
    • Deleted scenes: Introductions by Tom Twyker and editor
    • Music video: You can't find peace by Pale 3 featuring Skin
    • Talent profiles
    • Trailers: Theatrical, bonus
  • Languages: German
  • Picture: NTSC Widescreen (2.35:1/16:9 enhanced)
  • Subtitles: English, French, Spanish, Portuguese

Security censorship classification

MA 15+ (Adult themes, medium level violence)

Surveillance time

133 minutes (2:13 hours)

Not for public release in Australia before date

Film: 29 November 2001
DVD rental: 16 October 2002
VHS rental: 16 October 2002

Cinema surveillance images

The princess and the warrior image
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Director's notes

The power of love

If anything at all is capable of healing our inner wounds, then it is love. Love enables us to overcome obstacles in life. Its potency is amazing. In my experience, even people who, like Bodo, have lost all belief in love because they have been disappointed or betrayed, get that belief back if they have the chance. Disillusionment in a job, a career or in social matters is sometimes difficult to conquer. But I have time and again seen people still falling in love at 60, and the effect is the same as if it were the first time. Suddenly all the doors are open again, although they seemed shut before. Once more it is the triumph of love over the adversities of life. After the external resistances of Run Lola run we now have the internal resistance, in the wounded hearts of the hero and heroine.

Chance or fate

In the cinema, people are always being thrown into decisive situations. I like the thought of saying over and over: "What else could have happened to my life? What else could have happened to your life? What could have happened to us?" I think it is wonderful that in the cinema you can set this speculation machine in motion. You can so, now we shall get to know these people and then simply go on weaving, without being exposed to reality, which in life plays its own game.

The princess and the warrior

I think it's a very descriptive title, since the film gives these special, strange figures the same dimension as is usually reserved only for historical heroes. I think it is wonderful if they are suddenly allowed to set the tone of an epic film. They both grow beyond their own limits, and that is why they deserve a description like this, which is not The frustrated soldier and the cranky nurse, although the film could well have been called that. Sissi is a princess in that she is the secret ruler in this psychiatric establishment. In the same way, Bodo is a warrior, in a battle against himself and his feelings. Although they are not fanciful characters, they can lay claim to this dimension.

The music

As for my relationship with (co-composers Johnny Kilmek and Reinhold Heil), we three understand one another implicitly. I know that if I send a script or even fragments to Johnny and Reinhold, they will straight away start trains of thought which will help the film and its atmosphere.

The music of this film had a job to do. it had to underline the development and the path of the two main characters. In comparison to Run Lola run, the emotional ups and down and dreams in The princess and the warrior play a much more important part. In doing the score this way, we were always completely familiar with the changing moods of the characters.

It is frightfully important to me that the acoustic and the visual should combine absolutely. I hate it when you have the feeling that they are lying side by side, or music has been overlaid on a picture. If it is overlaid it shuts off the picture. The whole thing is a combination of elements must seem inextricable.

Sissi and Bodo

An important headline of the film for me was that someone who does not know how love works comes across someone who wants nothing further to do with love. Values from experience meet values from non-experience. that also means that the field of tension between the two is less physical. They first have to try to understand each other.

At first sight, they both appear very puzzling and strange, but I like it when you meet people in the cinema who at first seem pretty extreme, but then the film forces you to get to know them, to come to terms with them, and even to like them. I think it is better to get to know and love people slowly, rather than starting off bang with a couple of hit scenes, after which you know who you're supposed to like and who you're supposed to hate, after which all that remains is to do the job. I like it when the film's job consists of understanding people, following them, taking them to your heart.

The psychiatric ward

The hermetic aspect of that world fascinated me, and the fluid nature of the dividing lines. That there are people who have possibilities in them, and who can turn larger than life towards the positive but also towards the negative. At the moment that Bodo enters it, it soon becomes clear that in no time he could become part of the action, that he is immediately assimilated. At the same time the madness of the people there is relative. Sissi is a sort of connecting link between the two worlds. At first it is impossible to classify her, she's a sort of sister, but it has funny overtones, I'm very glad that we held it open so long. It was very important to me not to use psychiatry as a sort of scary background, but to take it seriously as a perfectly normal world in which people really do spend their lives, a real world for living.


Wuppertal has so many different elements, the big hill-and-valley differential, a lot of typically German architecture, and yet it is still a bit enchanted and full of nooks and crannies. If you are making a film about subjects which weigh with you, it is of course wonderful if you can be in an area in which you were emotionally formed, in which your own roots lie. Wuppertal is simply an interesting, mysterious and seductive town, with a geography that invites you and takes you along on a journey, and that's why it works in the cinema.

I find that you should look at Wuppertal in the same way that the Americans look at San Francisco. In America that's a really small city, with only a few million inhabitants, there are about fifty bigger and more important cities, and yet you see it very frequently in the cinema. And Wuppertal is also a sort of long tube in the valley with really steep slopes to left and right. A considerable part of the film's action happens in places to which people retire and barricade themselves in. That is very well reflected in this town, since it is itself a niche, a sort of hiding place between two hills on the floor of the valley.

Franka Potente

This time she was there from the very beginning, in the very hour of birth of the film, and the role was made for her. This wasn't something that i'd been carrying around with me for five years and just adapted for Franka. We talked a lot about this strange character while I was writing the script, and her idea of what the character was like had a big influence on me, in the way she moves and talks. And of course it is important to me that things I have discovered about her as a person are found again in the part.

Benno Fürmann

Benno is somebody who can act wonderfully well with no effort, who is very playful but also very physical, for whom a difficult character like this does not seem to be written. In fact, all three of them (Fürmann, Potente, Kròl) come up with something different from what we expect from them. As well as with Franka, in Benno I have found someone who has understood in such an intuitive way just how far this character can go. Occasionally one is lucky enough to find that an actor is himself going through a phase in which a certain role speaks to him particularly clearly, in which you suddenly have revelations in which you know that there is nothing more you can do, even if I direct till I'm blue in the face, it simply happens because someone has found out a certain truth for himself. All I can do in a case like that is to create trust.

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