Four Minutes

by Chris Kraus

Best Film at the Shanghai International Film Festival - 3 Bavarian Film Awards - 2 German Film Awards (incl. Best picture)

It was 60 years ago that Traude Krüger began teaching music at a women's prison. Now, on her search for possible students, she meets Jenny.Jenny is withdrawn, extremely violent and a convicted murderer. At their first meeting, the stern and conservative teacher rejects the fiercely rebellious inmate outright, provoking Jenny into an explosive tantrum.However, as vicious as Jenny is outwardly, the one-time musical prodigy can play the piano with astonishing beauty. Compelled to see Jenny's musical gift flower, Krüger convinces the director to allow the fiery inmate to train for a renowned public music competition...Jenny, whose only other alternative is solitary confinement, grudgingly enters into a shaky truce with the strong-willed piano teacher. For Krüger, it isn't just about the music. She's also hauntingly reminded of a student she once had...In a rare moment of weakness, Jenny confides in Krüger, painfully describing being abused by her stepfather and the horrible termination of a pregnancy by sadistic prison doctors. When Jenny defends herself against another inmate's attack, the director, believing her to be responsible, cancels her participation in the music competition finals. Having formed a bond with her troubled student, Krüger responds by quitting her position in defiant protest and smuggles Jenny out of the prison. Just before the competition begins, Jenny learns of a meeting between Krüger and her hated stepfather and erupts in a volcanic rage, attacking her teacher and storming off...It is only now that Krüger divulges her shameful secret. 60 years ago she betrayed another inmate student. Burdened with guilt, she chained herself to the prison for the rest of her life.The confession moves Jenny to compete - for them both. However, the prison authorities have become aware of the escape and converge on the Berlin Opera House where the competition is being held. Admitting her complicity to the prison director, Krüger, having come so far in restoring humanity to both the life of her student and her own, pleads for just a few more minutes...

Genre / Language / Length
Drama / German / 112 minutes
Original title
Vier Minuten
directed by
Chris Kraus (FOUR MINUTES)
produced by
Produced by Kordes & Kordes Film in coproduction with Chris Kraus, SWR, BR ,ARTE and Journal Film Volkenborn with backing from MFG Baden-Württemberg, Bundesbeauftragter für Kultur und Medien, Medienboard Berlin Brandenburg and Filmförderungsanstalt FFA in association with Beta Cinema
  • Monica Bleibtreu
  • Hannah Herzsprung (FOUR MINUTES, THE READER)
  • Sven Pippig
  • Richy Müller
  • Jasmin Tabatabai

Press Quotes

"Marvelous piece of cinema!"
Times Online

"You'll feel inspired and moved by "Four Minutes"."
NYC Movie Guru

"Exquisite... Powerful!"
GO Magazine

"The film's ending is one of the most powerful I have seen... "Four Minutes" is simply not to be missed."
New York Observer

"Herzsprung makes the screen tremble".

Herzsprung's performance

compares to Hilary Swank's turn in the boxing ring for "Million Dollar Baby"."