Locarno is one of the most important film festivals. After a small online edition for experts the previous year due to the pandemic, it is now again delighting the general public. There are also good stories from Germany.

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Applause for German cinema at the 74th Locarno International Film Festival in Switzerland: As part of the “Cineasti del presente” (“Filmmakers of the Present”) talent competition, the feature film “Nobody is with the Calves” by The German-Iranian author and director Sabrina impresses Sarabi. The film based on the book of the same name by Alina Herbing illuminates the dreary daily life of 24-year-old Christian (Saskia Rosendahl) on a farm in Mecklenburg. Christin only wants one thing: to leave. But how? The drama is particularly captivating thanks to the sensitive acting of the lead actress Rosendahl.

In the international competition for the main prize, the Golden Leopard, on the other hand, the satire “Nebesa” (German: sky) by Serbian author and director Srdan Dragojevic, which was co-produced by German donors in a co-production in many countries, made the most lasting impression to date. With dark humor, the film uses the story of a refugee family from Serbia somewhere in Eastern Europe to investigate whether traditional Christian values ​​still exist today. The film, which covers the period from the 1990s to the near future, is slated to be released in German cinemas in the fall under the title “Seems to be Deceptive”. “Vengeance is Mine, All Others Pay Cash” is one of the audience’s previous favorites in international competition. In the ballad on the life of the so-called little people, co-produced by German financiers, Indonesian director Edwin reflects in a very original way the recent history of his country of origin, shaped by violence.

The children’s drama “Soul of a Beast”, which was also co-funded by German producers, also received numerous endorsements. Swiss author and director Lorenz Merz impressively recounts in energetic images some adolescents’ desperate search for the meaning of life. Swiss actress Luna Wedler, who is already very successful in many German films, shines in one of the main roles.

German film actors have a notable influence on many of the festival’s films. In the outdoor program, broadcast out of competition, Julia Jentsch and Hannah Herzsprung, for example, impress with strong portraits of women in the historical drama “Monte Verità” by Swiss director Stefan Jäger. German film star Matthias Schweighöfer, known as a comedian, caused astonishment at one of the evening’s open-air galas, each with up to 5,000 spectators. Many visitors reacted with audible surprise to his appearance in Austrian Stefan Ruzowitzky’s anti-war thriller “Hinterland”. Schweighöfer shines here in an important guest role as a mature character actor. The film offer of the festival is mainly shaped by images loaded with conflicts. Many stories take place against a backdrop of war, flight and impoverishment. The climate catastrophe is also reflected.

The selection made by Giona A. Nazzaro, the new artistic director of the festival, is judicious: because light things often bring variety. There are hardly any extremely unusual and highly artistically encrypted films that the general public is rather confused about. Nazzaro is betting on substantial entertainment. This proved itself very well in the first half of the festival. The prizes will be handed out on August 14. dpa