Toni Erdmann

Toni Erdmann is a 2016 German-Austrian comedy-drama film directed, written and co-produced by Maren Ade in which a practical joking father tries to reconnect with his hard working daughter by creating an outrageous alter ego and posing as her CEO’s life coach. It stars Peter Simonischek and Sandra Hüller. The character of Winfried was loosely based on Ade’s own father who wore a pair of fake teeth she gave him as a gag gift to play practical jokes. She was also influenced by the comedian Andy Kaufman’s character, Tony Clifton, whom she saw as an off-the-wall alter ego. Ade set the film in Bucharest in part because many German companies had begun to do business there at the end of the communist era, with many foreign consultants sent to “change the system” and help businesses turn a profit. “And I like the new wave of Romanian films right now, too. So it’d be fun to work there.” The film, which premiered in competition at the Cannes Film Festival, was named the best film of 2016 by Sight & Sound and other respected cinema magazines. It won five awards at the 29th European Film Awards: Best Film (a first for a film directed by a woman), Best Director, Best Screenwriter, Best Actor, and Best Actress.  It also won the European Parliament LUX Prize and it was nominated for the Best Foreign Language Film at the 89th Academy Awards.

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