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Production Report featured in
German Films Quarterly 02/2013

In his first feature-length film, FAMILIAR CIRCLES, writer, director and co-producer Jonas Rothlaender’s documentary poses the question, is our fate predestined by our own family? Indeed, are familial conflicts passed down from one generation to another as some kind of unwelcome inheritance? He then tackles the big issue, should this be the case, as to what can be done to break this repeat pattern Is our fate predetermined by our family history? Are familial conflicts passed on from one generation to another? And what can be done to interrupt this vicious cycle? After decades of silence, the film-maker Jonas Rothlaender travels to Zurich to seek out his grandfather Günther who not only lost the grandmother's fortune, but also misappropriated several millions from others; money he then lost in risky stock market investments. Günther, now 90 years old, critically ill and completely impoverished, is possessed by the idea to settle his debts before he dies. There is one last deal he wants to close ...

But when Bettina, mother of filmmaker Rothlaender and daughter of Günther, also appears in Zurich, in the hopes of reconciling with her father, Günter is incapable of recognizing the situation at hand. Rothlaender sets out on a quest to find the roots of their seemingly incurable falling-out and is forced to deal with the ruthless conflicts within his own family. His journey leads him from the story of his grandparents to that of his mother and finally to his own.
Category Documentary
Year of Production 2015
Director Jonas Rothlaender
Screenplay Jonas Rothlaender
Cinematography Jonas Rothlaender
Producer Andreas Louis
Co-Producer Jonas Rothlaender
Production Company Deutsche Film- und Fernsehakademie Berlin (DFFB)
Runtime 130 min
Festivals Univerciné Nantes Allemand 2015
Awards Jury Award Nantes 2015
With backing from MOIN Filmförderung Hamburg Schleswig-Holstein, Filmwerkstatt Kiel

Jonas Rothlaender