Statement of the Jury: Roman’s grandmother has died. That is why the nine-year-old grandson from a Ukrainian village unexpectedly comes to the German city where his mother has been working illegally as a nurse for years. In Germany, Roman meets not only his beloved, loving and long-missed mother Oksana, but also the older widower Gert. He initially turns out to be a rival for Oksana’s favor and attention. When he reveals to Roman that he wants to marry Oksana, he becomes a threat in Roman’s eyes. After Oksana is hospitalized with appendicitis – and without insurance – Gert flees with Roman to a summer residence where an existential conflict develops between the widower and the boy – a conflict with very different manifestations between hostility and rapprochement.
Director Marcus Lenz, who most recently worked mainly as a cameraman, finds amazing, surprising and highly emotionally charged images to describe Roman’s condition as a hopeful and trembling young boy in the felt and feared no man’s land beyond his village and family. But Lenz is also always with himself as a director – and he stages the amazingly present and authentic natural talent Yelizar Nazarenko as the stirring main character of a film with an irresistibly emotional story that does not lack original scenic ideas.
The fact that this story, incidentally, not only touches on a current political and social topic, but also tackles it, speaks for a sovereign understanding of cinema.
Katharina Wackernagel (director and actor), Alfred Holighaus (Development Executive REAL FILM) and Max von der Groeben (actor)
Marcus Lenz was born in the Ruhr area in 1969. After studying Communication Design at the Folkwang University in Essen and at the UIAH in Helsinki, he studied film at the German Film and Television Academy in Berlin. His mentors there significantly influenced his film work. Through a workshop with British director Mike Leigh, Marcus Lenz learned a lot about his methods of improvisation, which have been an important part of his work ever since. He received several awards for his directorial work on his feature film CLOSE (2004) and had the opportunity to visit numerous festivals around the world.
He is primarily active as a director and screenwriter and found another passion in his work as a cameraman for documentary and feature films. Through his experience in both genres, Lenz was able to develop a finely tuned sense for the respective cinematic art. He is currently nominated for the German Camera Award 2020.