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WEST (WESTEN)

WEST
photo © Frank Dicks

Two suitcases, a schoolbag, a cuddly toy – that’s all Nelly Senff and her son Alexej take with them to start their new life in the West. A Volkswagen stops in front of their house in East Berlin. A West German takes them over the border. Nelly pretends to marry him. She is nervous. It’s summer, late 70s - three years after Wassilij’s death. Nelly’s boyfriend died in a car accident. Since Alexej’s father is dead, Nelly wants to leave, too. Away from the GDR, to leave the memories and the grief behind. To get a fresh start.

That should be possible on the other side of the Wall, or so Nelly believes. When she leaves, when she gets into that car, she wears a floral dress. But over there, in the West, she doesn’t know anybody. The first place of refuge for emigrants, the cramped Emergency Refugee Center in West Berlin, is her only shelter. And the place, where her past is catching up with her: The Allied secret services demand information on Wassilij. Allegedly he was a spy. Nelly has to decide if she lets the trauma of the past destroy the future she had in mind for her and her son.


Christian Schwochow studied at the Filmakademie Baden-Württemberg. He garnered attention in 2008 with his debut feature film, NOVEMBER CHILD. His two-part TV film THE TOWER (2012) won the prestigious Grimme Award. His second feature film, CRACKS IN THE SHELL (2011), received several accolades, including the German Film Award for Best Supporting Actress. His feature WEST (2013), also won the German Film Award, this time for Best Actress. He then made his debut as a theater director with POISON at the Deutsches Theater in Berlin. The production was awarded with the German Theater Prize for Best Actress. His other films include: BORNHOLMER STRASSE (2014, TV), NSU GERMAN HISTORY X (2016, TV mini-series), PAULA (2016), and the 6-part series BAD BANKS (2018).
Genre Drama
Category Feature
Year of Production 2013
Director Christian Schwochow
Screenplay Heide Schwochow
Cinematography Frank Lamm
Cast Jördis Triebel, Tristan Göbel, Jacky Ido, Anja Antonowicz, Alexander Scheer
Producers Katrin Schlösser, Thomas Kufus, Christoph Friedel
Co-Producer Helge Sasse
Production Companies zero one film, TERZ Film/Cologne, öFilm/Berlin, in co-production with Senator Film Produktion, WDR, SWR, RBB, ARTE
Length 102 min
Format 35 mm, DCP, color, cs
Original Version
 German, English, Russian, Polish
Subtitled Versions English, French, Russian
Festivals Montreal 2013, Black Nights Tallinn 2013, Arras 2013, Hof 2013, Braunschweig 2013, Biberach 2013, Seattle 2014, Cambridge 2014, Rio de Janeiro 2014, SANFIC 2014, Molodist Kiev 2014
Awards FIPRESCI Prize & Best Leading Actress Montreal 2013, Special Mention of the Critic's Jury Arras 2013, German Film Award 2014 (Best Actress: Jördis Triebel)
With backing from Film- und Medienstiftung NRW, Medienboard Berlin-Brandenburg, German Federal Film Board, German Federal Film Fund, MEDIA
German Distributor Senator Film Verleih/Berlin

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