Percy Adlon

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Percy Adlon
Born Paul Rudolf Parsifal Adlon
(1935-06-01) 1 June 1935 (age 81)
Munich, Germany
Occupation Director, screenwriter, producer
Years active 1975–present

Paul Rudolf Parsifal "Percy" Adlon[1] (German: [ˈpɛɐ̯si ˈaːdlɔn]; born 1 June 1935) is a German director, screenwriter, and producer. He is best known for his film Bagdad Café.

Early life[edit]

Adlon was born in Munich. He grew up in Ammerland/Starnberger See. He studied art, theater history, and German literature at Munich's Ludwig-Maximilian University; took acting and singing classes; and was a member of the student theater group.


He started his professional career as an actor, became interested in radio work, was a narrator and editor of literature series and a presenter and voice-over actor in television for 10 years.

In 1970, he made his first short film for Bavarian television, followed by more than 150 documentary films about art and the human condition. His first one-hour portrait Tomi Ungerer's Landleben started a very successful co-operation with Benigna von Keyserlingk who became the Adlon's television producer of documentaries and feature films.

Percy and Eleonore Adlon formed their film production company, pelemele FILM GmbH, in 1978. Their first project was the docu-drama The Guardian and his Poet about the Swiss novelist and poet Robert Walser for which they won 2 Adolf-Grimme Awards in Gold (best writer/director, best actor). Their first feature film Céleste, drew international attention at Cannes in 1981. Bagdad Cafe (1987) started their co-operation with Dietrich v. Watzdorf (Bayerischer Rundfunk). The story of Jasmin Münchgstettner and the Café owner Brenda was an international hit. Marianne Sägebrecht whom Percy Adlon discovered in 1979 became a cult figure, and Bob Telson's song "Calling You" a classic.

In 1997, Adlon started working with a digital camera. He filmed a three-hour special about the draftsman Tomi Ungerer for ARTE, Mozart's Magic Flute with images of today's Berlin, Die Straußkiste/Forever Flirt, 22 short films based on unknown masterpieces by Johann Strauss, Jr., a 90-minute film about his past and present relationship with his hometown Munich, Mein München, and in 2001, he completed his tenth feature film HAWAiiAN GARDENS, a Californian-Bavarian story, starring André Eisermann and Valeria Hernandez.

In 2001/02, Adlon made the documentary Koenig's Sphere, about the monumental sculpture that survived when the Twin Tower in New York fell. In 2003, the Adlons created a stage version of Bagdad Cafe, which premiered in Barcelona in 2004, toured in France in 2005 and 2006, and played in Theatre Mogador in Paris, France in 2006.

In 2007, the Adlons traveled to Ngorongoro, Tanzania three times to film their new two-hour documentary Orbela's People about an extended Maasai family.

Percy and Eleonore Adlon believe in film as an art form. The new possibilities for truly independent filmmaking are most fascinating to them. They believe that only films that are made without any commercial speculations can create innovations for cinema. They are proud to be independent filmmakers who write, direct, produce and own their own work.

Percy and Eleonore Adlon live in Pacific Palisades, California, working together with their son Felix whose first feature film Eat Your Heart Out (1997) they produced with their US company Leora Films. Felix was also the lead in the Adlons' docu-fantasy The Glamorous World of the Hotel Adlon about the world-famous Hotel Adlon in Berlin which Percy's great-grandfather Lorenz Adlon founded.

Percy and Eleonore Adlon have won numerous awards, including top honors in Rio de Janeiro for Bagdad Cafe, and in Montreal for Salmonberries, two Césars, the Ernst-Lubitsch-Award, the Swedish and the Danish Academy awards, the Prix Humanum, Belgium, prizes in Venice, Chicago, Valladolid, Brussels, Tokyo as well as Bavarian and German Federal Film Awards, among others.

Percy Adlon is the recipient of the Officer's Cross of the Federal Republic of Germany, and a voting member of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences.


  • 1982 Bavarian Film Award, Best Director
  • 1987 Bavarian Film Award, Best Screenplay
  • 1991 Bavarian Film Award, Best Director[2]


Other work[edit]

Further reading[edit]

  • Hans-Michael Bock (Ed.): The Concise CineGraph. Encyclopedia of German Cinema. New York, Oxford: Berghahn Books 2009, p. 3-4.


External links[edit]