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Part of SFFILM Festival

A Voluntary Year

Directed by Ulrich Köhler, Henner Winckler

Germany | Fiction | 86

16 Apr
Thu, Apr 16, 2020 at 6:00 pm
Creativity Theater
Creativity Theater 221 4th Street
San Francisco, CA 94103 United States
17 Apr
Fri, Apr 17 at 6:00 pm
Berkeley Art Museum/Pacific Film Archive
20 Apr
Mon, Apr 20 at 6:15 pm
Victoria Theatre


High-school graduate Jette has plans to spend most of her gap year in Costa Rica. Though she wants to get out from under her domineering dad, Urs (Dark‘s Sebastian Rudolph), her departure means separation from her beloved boyfriend, Mario. Writer/directors Henner Winckler and Ulrich Köhler (In My Room, Festival 2019) pinpoint a very particular moment of adolescent ambivalence when drastic change is something both desired and feared, and newcomer Maj-Britt Klenke brilliantly conveys the impulsive and mercurial behavior that can result.

“The long walk to freedom is littered with the actions of interfering men who think they know best in A Voluntary Year (Das freiwillige Jahr). There are echoes of Toni Erdmann in this more compact German study of a father/daughter relationship that develops into a wryly observed deconstruction of toxic masculinity.” –Allan Hunter, Screen Daily

Director Ulrich Köhler

Ulrich Köhler made his feature directing debut with Bungalow (2002), winner of a Silver Alexander at the Thessaloniki Film Festival. Among his other films are Sleeping Sickness (Festival 2012), for which he won a Silver Bear for Best Director at the Berlin International Film Festival, and In My Room (Festival 2019).

Director Henner Winckler

Henner Winckler’s first feature was School Trip (2002). He went on to make Lucy (2006) and A Voluntary Year.

Film Details

Language German, Spanish, English

Original Language Title Das freiwillige jahr

Year 2019

Runtime 86

Country Germany

Director Ulrich Köhler, Henner Winckler

Producer Ingmar Trost

Writer Ulrich Köhler, Henner Winckler

Editor Laura Lauzemis

Cinematographer Patrick Orth

Cast Maj-Britt Klenke, Sebastian Rudolph, Thomas Schubert