Florian Maria Georg Christian, Graf Henckel von Donnersmarck (you may exhale), is a German film director. He was born into a noted German noble family, the Henckel von Donnersmarcks, thus granting him his rather extraordinary name, which must be a bit of a drag when filling out forms at the DMV.
Young Florian grew up quite the cosmopolitan, spending his childhood in New York, Brussels, Frankfurt and Berlin. He studied Russian Literature in Russia (where else?) and is a qualified teacher of Russian as a foreign language, even though it’s not his first language. Or second. Or third. Henckel von Donnersmarck is fluent in at least five languages, and I’m guessing has some abilities in at least a few more.
He rose to international fame with his 2006 film The Lives of Others, which is highly recommended to anyone who enjoys movies that are really, really good. He won the Academy Award for best foreign language film in the 2007 Oscars and gave a wonderfully eloquent acceptance speech, something not often heard from the recipient of the foreign film award. (Although there is something to be said for just saying all the words in English you know and then throwing out a reference to an 80’s rock classic).
Mr. Henckel von Donnersmarck then went on to direct the widely panned The Tourist, which nevertheless won three Golden Globes nominations and was a worldwide hit with audiences. Intriguingly, Donnersmarck said he took the job because it was a short gig he could do in less than a year and the subject matter was light, providing a break from the rather dark film he was working on at the time. I’m sure the paycheck was alright too.
That, in short, is the story of Florian Henckel von Donnersmarck up to now. We leave you now to ponder the width of his business cards and that look of confusion on the faces of the many assistants trying to read out his name as they call him in from their waiting rooms.