After last year's strong German presence including two Competition titles and two films on the Piazza Grande, the Festival del Film Locarno (2 – 12 August, 2017) has once more shown itself to be very impressed by German cinema and, in particular, by young filmmakers from Germany. A total of 28 German films and co-productions have been programmed.
FREEDOM by Jan Speckenbach (DE/SK, One Two Films, ZAK FILM Productions) will be representing young German cinema in the International Competition. And the same goes for the impressive open-air cinema on the Piazza Grande. This is where THREE PEAKS by Jan Zabeil (DE/IT, Rohfilm) with a top line-up and ICEMAN by Felix Randau (DE/IT/AT, Port au Prince Film & Kultur Produktion, Lucky Bird Pictures), a story from the Neolithic period, will have their world premieres.
Current political issues will be covered in the documentaries THE CONGO TRIBUNAL by Milo Rau (DE/CH, Fruitmarket Arts & Media) and THE POETESS by Stefanie Brockhaus and Andreas Wolff (Brockhaus/Wolff, HFF München) which are being screened in the independent sidebar Semaine de la Critique as a collaboration between the Swiss Association of Film Journalists and the festival.
There are also a number of films from Germany among the shorts: Willy Hans will be showing THE SATANIC THICKET – THREE in Pardi di domani: Concorso internazionale. THE CHRONOLOGY OF THE DISAPPEARANCE by Nadine Schwitter (Academy of Media Arts Cologne/KHM) will be screening in Pardi di domani: Concorso Nationale. And One Two Films from Deutschland will be represented at the festival with another production apart from FREEDOM: the short A MANIFESTO FOR THE UN-COMMUNAL by Syllas Tzoumerkas (DE/IL) in Fuori Concorso. FANTASY SENTENCES by Dane Komljen (DE/DK, Flaneur Films) has been programmed in Signs of Life.
About the German films:
In FREEDOM, Jan Speckenbach, whose debut feature REPORTED MISSING premiered at the Berlinale and was nominated for the 2012 European Film Award, poses questions like - is it possible to erase your life and become someone else (without losing yourself)? How much is freedom worth? And, above all: what is freedom? Nora, portrayed by Johanna Wokalek ( THE BAADER MEINHOF COMPLEX, THE DAYS TO COME) , walks out on her husband Philip and their children without a word of explanation. She is driven by an irresistible force. She wants to be free. Meanwhile, Philip is trying to manage his work and family life following her unexplicable disappearance. Philip's chain is the freedom Nora is looking for.
THREE PEAKS is also a second feature. Director Jan Zabeil's debut THE RIVER USED TO BE A MAN celebrated its world premiere in Toronto and won a number of international prizes. He was able to sign up FACE TO FACE WITH GERMAN FILMS ambassador Alexander Fehling (LABYRINTH OF LIES, HOMELAND) and Bérénice Bejo (THE ARTIST) for the leads on THREE PEAKS. Aaron invites his girlfriend Lea and her eight-year-old son, Tristan, on a trip to the mountains. High up in the Three Peaks region of the Dolomites, Aaron and Tristan are faced with their ambivalent love FOR and deepest fears of one another, while Lea stands in between the two. In his attempt to win the boy's respect, Aaron takes him up the mountain and confronts Tristan with his continuous aggression towards him. When fog sets in and Aaron loses the boy, their power games reach a dangerous level...
The Ötztal Alps rather than the Dolomites are at the center of ICEMAN by Felix Randau: a clan is living there peacefully more than 5,300 years ago during the Neolithic period. While their leader Kelab (Jürgen Vogel) is out hunting, all of the tribe is brutally murdered during an attack, including his wife and son. The community's shrine has been stolen. Driven by pain and fury, Kelab has only one goal – revenge – and follows in hot pursuit of the murderers. But a fatal error then turns Kelab from hunter to hunted. Will he give in to his desire for revenge and change from victim to perpetrator? Or will he manage to break the eternal cycle of violence?
Written and directed by multiple award-winning theatre director Milo Rau, THE CONGO TRIBUNAL creates an unshrouded portrait of one of the biggest and bloodiest economic wars in human history. Two tribunals – one held in East Congo and other in Berlin – examine the causes and background to a war that will soon have lasted for more than 20 years in the Congo, is often been referred to as the "Third World War" due to the direct or indirect involvement of all the superpowers of our time, and has already claimed up to six million lives.
The documentary THE POETESS tells Hissa Hilal's story. She is the first woman to reach the final of the Arabic world's biggest poetry competition. In her poems in the multi-million Dollar TV show, she criticises the patriarchal Arabic world and attacks one of the notorious Saudi clerics for his extremist fatwas in front of an audience of 75 million. And yet Hissa is covered from head to toe, she is not allowed to drive a car, doesn't have a passport, and requires her husband's permission for every activity. How did she muster the courage to risk her life on the stage?