German contribution: “The volunteer of the year” in competition of Locarno


The International competition is strong. In the race for the Golden leopard from Locarno Film by Ulrich Köhler and Henner Winckler still has a good chance. Is told a story from the German province.

“Maybe good if you would finally overwhelm someone’s time”, POPs Urs, a country doctor and single dad, former teachers of his 18-year-old daughter Jette front of the bib. “You have not done that anyway,” he adds in a hard-hitting, as he writes matter-of-factly a prescription under. Rates, which are anchored in a world view that can’t be contradictory.

The Film “The volunteer of the year,” the directing Duo, Ulrich Köhler, Henner Winkler, both Born in 1969, – told one at first glance, everyday father/daughter story that could almost take place anywhere in Germany, at any place. And yet, she has a lot to do with the social structure of a German provincial city. Expectations of the family, the closest friends are piling up – usually unspoken – to the exit barriers.

Exit from the tutelage

Urs, by trained athletes, and in his home town as “doctor” established his daughter Jette to the airport. You want to start a voluntary social year in Costa Rica, your Luggage looks more like a trip around the world. The careful camera work of Patrick Orth reads carefully in her young face: seriously, she looks into the distance, miserable. Joy of travel is different.

With a friend in the car instead of the plane: Maj-Britt Klenke, the 18-year-old Jette

An unplanned detour to his washed-up brother crossed the schedules of Urs that Brooks neither delay nor opposition. He makes Jette with her boyfriend Mario, continue. Here the story takes a decisive turn and the family drama run its course.

Jette – between a lust for adventure and love, grief stricken – decides to let her fly around. And skin with dad’s car, and their startled friend at the wheel. Camera technically a challenge, says Director Köhler: “we were irritated with the idea to turn to a chamber play in the car. That was the basic idea. And we both wanted to make a very actor-oriented Film.”

Camera as a constant companion

Fleeting shots that show a abgehetzten Urs in duration to the departure terminal, in the Background, acting as a cinematic Transition. The strong Kamerarbeit by Patrick Orth is subtle and multi-layered. Much is only hinted at, is working with mood lighting, change of view angle, and can be explained only later, from the tiny Details that complete the picture gradually.

Doctor instead of revolutionary: main character of Urs

The slurred Tchibo-bed linen in the nursery, the left-alternative kitchen chaos, contrasted by the well-functioning, clinically lit doctor’s office, in the Urs clearly the boss. The self-stained-wood shelves at home crammed full with endless folder series, tell a different, very private 68-story. In the meantime, Urs itself is part of the Establishment, which he has combated as a Student politically.

Experienced Team Work

Director Ulrich Köhler has not yet turned all of his films with the camera man Orth. The two are a Team, have developed a strong visual language that is very dramatic, and in a poetic sparseness, therefore. The international film criticism has established long used the term “Berlin school”, including Christian Petzold, Christoph hochhäusler, Thomas Aslan.

Also, Henner Winckler, writer and film-maker, belongs to this-played Combo and is attributed to the “Berlin school” course. Camera man and both Directors know your for the study, says Köhler in the DW-Interview: “We are a group of 5,6, creative people together in a film class at the art Academy in Hamburg. Patrick Orth has also studied with us.”

Friction energy as a power source

Her Film “The volunteer of the year” is atmospherically extremely dense, and yet very entertaining. Tragic moments alternate with powerful situation Comedy. Köhler and Winckler have developed everything from the script together, as a directing-Duo, shot, and cut together.

The Directors (on the left) at the press conference in Locarno

Both see this as clear added value of your previous film work, even if their previous way of working came on the Set to their limits. “The Problem with the rotary is that it is printing under an insane time. We actually thought, we discuss each scene in peace, but this was not possible,” says Henner Winckler self-critical. “In a situation where 20 people are waiting for it to go further, and we catch up on Details to discuss, it happens quickly, that many are nervous.”

Dilemma of a girl Generation

The entertaining story has its shoals and awakens the spectators in Locarno strong feelings. Sometimes you want to shake the indecisive Jette, the case of father Urs: to Let go of your daughter in her own way. Actress Maj-Britt Klenke had an ambivalent relationship to her figure, she says at the press conference in Locarno: “to Me this girl has pissed on too, in her eternal Nothing-to-the-chain wars.”

Jette embodies in this Film, a zwiegespaltene Generation of young girls: tough, brave, football playing, and yet the role models of parents sinks in despair. Your energetic response when she trudges furchteufelswütend after a dispute with Mario on the sports field, is that of a young balled to fists, the hands in the jacket pocket determined. If you want to have from your father, your voice is extremely girly – your weapon against his eternal men’s dominance.

Funny and dramatic scenes in “The volunteer of the year”

Time factor as a quality feature

Exceptionally, this production is not a self-financed film, but a co-production with a TV station (WDR/Cologne). In Locarno, he runs as the only German Film in the International competition of the prestigious Swiss film festival. There was much applause at the world premiere on Saturday (10.8.2019), the chances of finding a Golden leopard are good.

Pads there was none, but that almost costed Budget made internal savings measures are essential to ensure enough time for samples and necessary Neudrehs that the two Directors needed for your intensive work. For the main performers, Sebastian Rudolph (Urs), a rather unfamiliar way of working. “For me, it was interesting to work with two Directors. As a result, a different tension is created because it is defined as an actor is much less clear how the figure should now be. And thus, more energy will be produced.”

Ulrich Köhler is a Venture of this intense script and direction work together with Henner Winckler very satisfied. “That’s what separates him from the films I’ve made so far, and the Henner has made. I see it as a creative synergy, which is very positive. And the will have a, hopefully, more positive impact on our film-making.”