Holtz – Conversations About Nothing


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An intimate portrait of actor Jürgen Holtz.

The ham actor as the last sovereign in the theatre – this slogan is Jürgen Holtz’ programmatic confession in relation to his profession. One of Germany’s most sought after actors, he was a controversial figure both in East and West Germany. To him, performing a role on stage, in film and radio broadcasting is more than memorizing text and following stage directions. His quest has always been more existential: he wants to understand language on a deeper level, question words and reclaim them so as to discover their timeless meaning.

Such a person cannot simply be the mouthpiece of other people’s writings – he must be a writer himself, and where language fails, be able to use the paint brush.

In a monologue that is at the same time grim and tender, just like a Thomas Bernhard play, Holtz recollects his disastrous and delightful experiences with theatre in the GDR, his sense of alienation in the West, and the impertinence of aging.

The film is not a conventional artist portrait, as it was made on a zero budget. However, the rawness of the footage and the actor’s account of his theatrical mission add to the authenticity and charm of the film.

Watching the film will make it impossible not to notice that this Holtz is one in a million in the sea of faces on screens and stages.


Length: 61 minutes
Produced and directed by: Thomas Knauf
Camera and Sound: Thomas Knauf
Editor: Mathieu Honoré
Soundmix: Sebastian Reuter
Music: Christian Steyer

The film was realized thanks to the support of DEFA Foundation and Atlantis-Film.