D/ UKR  2020, feature, 96 min, cast: Yelizar Nazarenko, Udo Samel, Maria Bruni. Directed by: Marcus Lenz, script: Lars Hubrich, Marcus Lenz, AC: Michael Schneider, Jan Kremzow, Franz Zimmermann, gaffer: Rost Vasylyev, colorist: Moritz Peters, producers: Gunter Hanfgarn and Andrea Ufer (Hanfgarn und Ufer), Patrick Waldmann and Marcus Lenz (Wildfilms), Yura Beliy (BelkaStrelka)

The German Cinema New Talent Award 2020, Yuri Marukhin Memorial Award for Best Cinematography IFF »Listapad« Minsk, Best Film/ Best Screenplay/ Best Cinematography »Achtung Berlin« Filmfestival 2021, Best Director at SKIP-City IFF Japan, IFF Busan (South Korea) international competition »Fast Forward«, AFI-Fest Los Angeles category New Auteurs, IFT Hof, IFF Braunschweig (»Heimspiel-Award«), IFF »Listapad« Minsk, IFF Tallinn Black Nights, Neisse-Filmfestival (Best Director)

9-year-old Roman follows his mother Oksana, who left to work illegally in Germany. There she lives with Gert, a 62- year-old German widower who suffers from diabetes. Gert tries to make friends with the boy, but Roman struggles for his mother’s attention. Suddenly Oksana becomes ill, and Roman is left alone with his rival. Surprisingly Gert turns out to be a good playmate until he dies from a stroke. Roman is now trapped in a remote place, along with a corpse.

»An accomplished, offbeat coming-of-age drama. … Cinematographer Frank Amann beautifully crafts Rival, contrasting the indoor glow of Roman’s confinement with the outside light. Later outdoor scenes in bright sunlight and billowing mist make the woods seem like an enchanted forest.« Allen Hunter, Screen Daily

»This is a film that holds the audience in the palm of its hand. … Not only is this accomplished by the power of the screenplay and filmmaking, but also largely due to the performances. Specifically, credit needs to be given to that of Yelizar Nazarenko. The young actor excels in this role, even carrying the film at times.« Carsen Timar, CLAPPER

Links: Pluto Film