© Grandfilm

Das Freiwillige Jahr (A Voluntary Year)
Germany 2019

Opening 6 Feb 2020

Directed by: Ulrich Köhler, Henner Winckler
Writing credits: Ulrich Köhler, Henner Winckler
Principal actors: Maj-Britt Klenke, Sebastian Rudolph, Thomas Schubert, Katrin Röver, Daniel Nocke

This is a very intense character study of a control freak! As a family doctor in a rural area, Urs (Sebastian Rudolph) is called upon by his patients 24/7. Maybe this blurred the lines for him between his job and his private life. He treats family and friends like patients that need to be told what to do. Advice, mostly unsolicited, turns into demands. He interferes—even violently—with everyone's affairs while overestimating his ability to run everyone's life and his "fuses are running shorter and shorter".

When we encounter him he is consumed with the thought that his daughter, who just finished high school, should volunteer for a year in a South American hospital. He has decided and planned it all. Considering that Jette (Maj-Britt Klenke) doesn't really want to go, the term "volunteering" is rather ironic in this circumstance. Urs literally has to push her out the door and into the car to the airport. Since he insists on taking care of some other errands and "obligations" on the way, they are running late. Mario (Thomas Schubert), Jette's on-again, off-again boyfriend, is summoned to drive her to the terminal. Stuff happens and they miss the flight. Now it shows that "the apple doesn't fall far from the tree". To finally get what she wants, Jette orders Mario around with an aggressive and infantile demeanor. The constant tense and hostile atmosphere makes this very well-cast and convincingly acted film exhausting to watch. The format seems better suited for TV than for the "big screen". (Carola A)

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