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He radiates Disco Boy, the first film by Giacomo Abbruzzese, Silver Bear at the last Berlin Film Festival, in which he plays the main role. Portrait of a sensitive and mysterious actor.


We met him as a refugee in the occupied Marseille of Transit by Christian Petzold (2018), or as a passionate lover in Ondine, by the same director (2020). He was Isabelle Huppert’s son, the last born of a large French bourgeois family in Michael Haneke’s Happy End (2017) – dubbed for the occasion – and the employee of a German supermarket in Thomas Stuber’s A Waltz in the Alleys (2018). Here, he is a legionnaire, wearing the colors of France on his uniform, between Paris and the Niger river strait, in Giacomo Abbruzzese’s Disco Boy. 

Franz Rogowski is German, which does not prevent him from playing a Belarusian in a French film directed by an Italian. This is the sign of great actors: knowing how to make themselves forgotten in favor of the character, while being immediately recognizable. His name is not yet known to everyone, but his face is beginning to make its mark beyond the borders of the Rhine.


Since his discovery as an ex-convict in Sebastian Schipper’s dizzying Victoria (2015), Franz Rogowski has been fascinating. Is it his peculiar speech – a disorder caused by a cleft lip that was surgically closed at birth – that often gives his characters a dark and mysterious edge? Or the way he moves, bows his head or lifts his chin, which always seems to oscillate between delicate awkwardness and pent-up violence? Perhaps it’s because Franz Rogowski was originally trained as a dancer.


In the mid-2000s, the future rising star of European cinema made a name for himself on the stages of Germany’s major theatres. He was 21 when he choreographed his first shows in Berlin, Hamburg, and Hanover. He went on to perform in several shows at the prestigious Schaubühne in Berlin, while also taking his first steps in film. 

The son of a doctor and a midwife, Franz Rogowski became an artist because, he says, he “sucked at school.”

Today, he is announced as a cast member of David Michôd’s new film, Animal Kingdom, with Naomi Scott and Sean Harris; in May, he will join the jury of the Semaine de la Critique at the next Cannes Film Festival, and then will share the poster of Passages, a love triangle filmed in English by Ira Sachs, alongside Ben Whishaw and Adèle Exarchopoulos. The road ahead seems to be clear for this native of Fribourg to become one of the great names of international cinema in the coming years. 

Disco Boy by Giacomo Abbruzzese, with Franz Rogowski, 

Released in cinemas on 3 May

Pierre Charpilloz