Gloomy Sunday - A Story of Love and Fate

Set in Budapest in the 1930s and 1940s, the film is about waitress Ilona Várnai's love triangle with Jewish restaurant owner László Szabó and pianist András Aradi.


Laszló Szabó
Joachim Król
András Aradi
Stefano Dionisi
Hans Eberhard Wieck
Ben Becker
Ilona Várnai
Erica Marozsán
Obersturmbannführer Eichbaum
Sebastian Koch
Gloomy Sunday - Ein Lied von Liebe und Tod - Poster 1

Gloomy Sunday - A Story of Love and Fate

Rolf Schübel

  • Fiction
Production Country / Year
Germany, Hungary 1999
de. OF ohne UT
DCP, Color, 112min
1.85:1, Stereo PCM
Original Title
Gloomy Sunday - Ein Lied von Liebe und Tod

Director & Crew

Rolf Schübel 1

Rolf Schübel

Born in Stuttgart in 1942. Study of sociology and literature. Active as a producer, screenwriter and director.


1979-82 BIER FÜR LAMA KARA, Dokumentarfilm 1982/83 NACHRUF AUF EINE BESTIE, Dokumentarfilm 1985-87 DER INDIANER (Co-Regie) , Dokumentarfilm 1988/89 DAS HEIMWEH DES WALERJAN WRÓBEL, Spielfilm 1991-93 TODFEINDE (Co-Regie),  Dokumentarfilm 1994-96 2 ½ MINUTEN, Fernsehspiel 1996-97 WOANDERS SCHEINT NACHTS DIE SONNE, Fernsehspiel 1997-99 EIN LIED VON LIEBE UND TOD – GLOOMY SUNDAY, Spielfilm 1999-00 EINE ÖFFENTLICHE AFFAIRE 2001-02 KOLLAPS, Fernsehspiel 2002-03 BLUEPRINT, Spielfilm 2003-04 ZEIT DER WÜNSCHE, Fernsehfilm 2006 TATORT: AUS DER TRAUM, Fernsehfilm 2007 TATORT: DER TOTE VOM STRASSENRAND, Fernsehfilm

someone once said: “there are three important things about filmmaking. casting, casting, casting!” i agree wholeheartedly. for weeks and months, the producer and director had kept me in suspense with announcements. a fantastic script was being written, a great production was under construction, and above all, they had a wonderful role for me. one like i had never played before. i was more than excited and naturally skeptical. drumming is part of the business, as we all know. and often silence follows drumming. not in this case. the script by ruth toma, one of our best screenwriters, was excellent. she had re-worked nick barkow’s novel “lied vom traurigen Sonntag”, which was considered unfilmable, very cleverly and carefully, added the character of ilona and provided the whole thing with an ingenious dramaturgical bracket. masterful. a very promising beginning. but above all the problems that still had to be solved, which such an undertaking as “gloomy Sunday” entails, was of course the cast. ruth toma’s screenplay offered four equal leading roles with ilona, hans, laszlo and andras. whereby ilona of course had to be the shining center. a difficult task for the caster tina böckenhauer. since i (as laszlo) was already cast, i was asked to be available as an audition partner for the “casting ilona”.


and almost at the end of the day, after endless repetitions of the most important ilona-laszlo-scenes, with the best colleagues tino böckenhauer could invite, still nothing was decided, when a small miracle happened. erika maroszan, a colleague from hungary, of whom hardly anyone present had ever heard anything, was still missing. the small door that was embedded in the huge studio door opened hesitantly and in its frame suddenly stood - ilona. with an enchanting accent she said absurdly: “guten tag, ich bin erika”, which at the same moment for everyone present she no longer was. the following audition was purely a matter of form. never again have i experienced that an actress was so at one with the role she was to play. everyone, really everyone, was in love with her.


Rolf Schübel
Ruth Toma
Director of Photography
Edward Kłosinski
Ursula Höf
Music Composer
Detlef Petersen
Richard Schöps