Confusion and instability are on the rise and 19-year-old hacker Karl Koch gazes on a world in disorder. He is fascinated by the rebel Hagbard Celine, the main character of the cult novel Illuminatus! by Robert Anton Wilson, and decides to explore the murky foundations of political machinations. His findings convince him of the existence of a world-wide plot. But Karl and his friends, frustrated by the slowness of their home computers, can't keep up with the power of evil, which is inter-connected by a global network. Each time an answer seems just within reach, it slips away. Karl dedicates himself day and night to what is becoming a tragic odyssey; he fuels himself with pills and cocaine and ends up losing control of his own existence, his social relations and reality itself.
Hans-Christian Schmid (Altotting, Germany; 1965) obtained a scholarship to participate in the city's Drehbuchwerkstatt, after receiving his degree at Munich's Academy of Film and Television (HFF). He followed up with courses at the University of Southern California at Los Angeles. His film 23 won the Hypo Preis at Munich's Filmfest in 1998 (in a tie with Plus-minus null by Eoin Moore).
Sekt oder Selters (doc., 1989), Lachendes Gewitter (cm, 1991), Mechanik des Wunders (doc., 1992), Himmel und Hölle (tv, 1994), Nach Fünf im Urwald (1996), 23 (1998).
Screenplay: Hans-Christian Schmid, Michael Gutmann.
Director of photography: Klaus Eichhammer.
Costume designer: Pery de Braganca.
Art director: Ingrid Henn.
Sound: William Franck.
Music: Norbert Jürgen Schneider.
Editor: Hans-Jörg Weißbrich.
Cast and characters: August Diehl (Karl Koch), Fabian Busch (David), Dieter Landuris (Pepe), Jan-Gregor Kremp (Lupo).
Producer: Jakob Claussen, Thomas Wöbke.
Production company: Claussen+Wöbke Filmproduktion, Herzog-Wilhelmstrasse 27, 80331 München, Germany, tel. +49-89-2311010, fax +49-89-263385.
Foreign sales agent: Bavaria Film International, Bavaria Media GmbH, Bavariafilmplatz 8, 82031 Geiselgasteig, Germany, tel. +49-89-64993728, fax +49-89-64993720.