The thematic worlds of life and love are closely connected. Everything starts at the beginning with the love of a child for its parents, the first bonds that make love a way of life that shapes personality and character. Positively, as well as negatively. In life, love takes place in a platonic or romantic way. Or it just paves its way. Last but not least, it is the love of places, activities, objects, and especially people that defines life. Love as a life lesson also includes self-love and reflection, in a sometimes painful process between equivalence, uncertainty as well as loss. But love also inspires our imagination, for everyone individually, for everyone purely. That's life.
We present a selection of film life and love stories from our program this year here:
THE BOY WHO OWNS THE WORLD, direction: Robert Gwisdek (Germany, Italy 2023)
Young Basilio lives in a villa in Sicily with his mysterious elderly mentor Casimir, who is supposed to help him find true poetry. One day he meets Klara, whose life seems mysteriously related to his own, leading to unexpected discoveries.
With Julian Pollina, Denis Lavant, Chiara Höflich and Corinna Harfouch
DRIFT, direction: Anthony Chen (France, Greece, United Kingdom 2023)
Jacqueline, a young refugee girl strands alone and penniless on a Greek island. While trying to get by, she meets a rootless tour guide. They become friends and manage to find new courage together.
With Cynthia Erivo, Alia Shawkat, Ibrahima Ba, Honor Swinton Byrne, Zainab Jah, Suzy Bemba and Vincent Vermignon
LIVING LIKE CANDICE, direction: Dirk Rosenlöcher (Germany 2023)
Friedemann peddles drugs to pay for his mother’s funeral. On his way to a deal at the fair, he meets life-hungry Candice, followed by a wild evening. However, when he learns that Candice is sick and what she plans for the future, repressed memories come crashing down on him.
With Constantin Gerhards, Vita Tepel, Andreas Nickl, Madeleine Niesche, Slavko Popadic and Karsten Jaskiewicz
MARINETTE, direction: Virginie Verrier (France 2023)
Marinette Pichon is one of the most successful female soccer players in the world, from France to the United States. the film follows her fight to spread awareness on women's rights and equal opportunities in sports. It also deals with her troubled childhood and her coming out at a time when LGBTQ+ rights were still far from being considered.
With Garance Marillier, Emilie Dequenne and Alban Lenoir
MY SAILOR, MY LOVE, direction: Klaus Härö (Finland, Ireland 2022)
Worried about her irascible father Howard, a retired sea captain, stressed-out nurse Grace hires local widow Annie as his housekeeper. When the pair embark on an unexpected romance, old wounds and closely guarded secrets come to light. Can the love between them flourish?
With James Cosmo, Brid Brennan and Catherine Walker
SURVIVING BRANDENBURG, direction: Ben von Grafenstein, Zoltan Paul (Germany 2023)
Filmmaker Lazlo Kovac is denied funding for his film project. He slides into a life crisis but recovers when a right-wing AfD politician becomes the only mayoral candidate in his village of 120 people and he hastily runs as an opposing candidate. A comedy about ageism and post-midlife crisis that couldn't be more topical.
With Adele Neuhauser, Sabine Weibel, Joachim Assböck, Dietrich Hollinderbäumer, Rappel Herford and others
LET ME GO, direction: Maxime Rappaz (Switzerland, France, Belgium 2023)
Claudine devotes her entire life to her disabled son. Every Tuesday, however, she takes some time off and meets up in a mountain hotel with strange men passing through. When one of them decides to extend his stay for her sake, she feels her everyday life turned upside down and finds herself dreaming of a new life.
With Jeanne Balibar, Thomas Sarbacher and Pierre-Antoine Dubey
THE BREAKING ICE, direction: Anthony Chen (China, Singapore 2023)
Haofeng, a young dock worker from Shanghai, comes to visit a small wintry town in northern China. He feels alone there at first, until he meets the charming town guide Nana, who introduces him to Xiao, a restaurant professional. After a drunken weekend, the three become friends and gradually try to free themselves from their literally freezing environment.
With Dongyu Zhou, Haoran Liu and Chuxiao Qu
7 OR HOW DO I STOP THE TIME, direction: Antje Starost, Hans Helmut Grotjahn (Germany 2023)
13 years after the premiere of "7 oder warum ich auf der Welt bin" (7 or Why I am in the World), the seven portrayed children from all over the world have become young adults. As such, they allow the filmmakers to share their attitude to life. The film presents the philosophical context of their current lives and the future of the generation between 20 and 30.
With Vanessa Cachimuel Montalvo, Albrecht Felsmann, Basile Grondon, Vivi Vassileva and others
HIGHRIDERS, direction: Johann Schilling (Germany 2023)
Four men, one fairground ride. Together they travel to the fairs and offer people a light-hearted time. A film that looks behind the scenes and tells of people who need each other, maybe even love each other, but can't tell each other anything about it.
With Frank Herrmanns, Cedric Reinartz, Dustin Knieriemen and Marcus Herfs
FRANK MEYER, direction: Leonhard Hofmann, Riccardo Dejan Jurkovic (Germany 2023)
The film follows Frank Meyer, a retired bodybuilder, over the course of 10 years. He starts to overcome his violent childhood and to analyze his masculinity. Frank suffers a stroke, a heart attack and kidney failure, but continues to train in the hope of coming back someday.
With Frank Meyer
MY BODY, MY SOUL, direction: Clarissa Eysell (Germany 2023)
A look in the mirror often reveals more than we might like. Does the body match the soul? And what if it doesn't? Through their transition, Andreas, Amelie and Patricia find a way to self-acceptance and ultimately self-love.
With Amelie Jordan, Andreas Oberndörffer, Patricia Sophie Schüttler and Sandra Höstermann-Schüttler