Director Tom Tykwer and Dustin Hoffman on the set of Dreamworks’ Perfume:The Story of a Murderer.

Director Tom Tykwer consummately embodies the term “moviemaker,” often wearing the hats of director, writer, producer and composer. Despite his lack of a formal film education, Tykwer has managed to forge ahead and become a critically adored artist with a style all his own. His latest film, Perfume: The Story of a Murderer, starring Ben Wishaw, Dustin Hoffman and Alan Rickman, began its limited U.S. release December 27. An adaptation of Patrick Suskind’s cult novel of the same name, the cinematic depiction brings to life the thrilling drama of a talented perfumer and the violent measures he takes to compose the perfect scent.

Most people will recognize the German-born director as the mastermind behind the art-house hit Run, Lola, Run. However, since that film’s 1998 release, he has built upon his success with two more feature films (The Princess and the Warrior and Heaven) and contributed a short to the upcoming Paris, je t’aime, alongside directors Alfonso Cuarón, Gus Van Sant and Gurinder Chadha.

Fascinated by the moving image at an early age (particularly film versions of Peter Pan and King Kong), Tykwer began his career as the projectionist at a Berlin movie house. By the age of 22 he became the sole programmer at the city’s Moviemento cinema, making him an esteemed contact for prominent German directors looking to screen their works. His first movie, 1990’s Because, was a hit on the festival circuit and helped to lead him to a partnership with fellow German moviemakers Stefan Arndt, Wolfgang Becker and Dani Levy. Together the men continue to run the X-Filme Creative Pool production house.

To hear it straight from the moviemaker’s mouth, visit Tykwer’s website.

Sound Off: Although Tykwer found success following his international triumph, Run, Lola, Run, his films have never had quite the same amount of publicity—until Perfume, which the late auteur Stanley Kubrick claimed could not be made. Do you think this is the movie to bring the director back to international acclaim? Talk back in the comments section!