BFM — 39
BFM — 39

Available online from 28 to 30 April on MYmovies.it

Directed by Marcus LenzItalian title: Il rivale [t.l.]
Germany / 2020 / 96 min.
Colour / O.V. / Subtitles: sub. it./en.
Yelizar Nazarenko, Maria Bruni, Udo Samel, Nina Kastorf

9-year-old Roman follows his mother Oksana, who left Ukraine 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. Then suddenly Oksana becomes ill and Roman is left alone with his rival. Gert turns out to be a good playmate, until he has an accident. Roman is now trapped in a remote place in a foreign country, alone, without his rival and his mother and unable to communicate in a foreign language.


Marcuz Lenz –– (Hattingen, Germany, 1969) grew up in the Ruhr and studied communication design at the Folkwang University of the Arts in Essen and the University of Art and Design in Helsinki. After receiving his degree, he studied directing and cinematography at the Deutsche Film- und Fernsehakademie Berlin (DFFB). Since 2000, he has been working as a cinematographer for documentaries on television and film. Rival is his second feature.

«The templates for my characters of Roman, Gert and Oksana are real people whom I have personally encountered. […] From the very beginning, I was fascinated by the powerful but hard-to-define dependencies between the people in this triangular relationship. […] I firmly believe that the magic of cinema consists of building up empathy by viewing the world through the eyes of another. We experience the world of Rival through the eyes of the nine-year-old Roman. […] We, the audience, get to be just like him: curious and wild, overflowing with energy, untamable and in a natural state of inner freedom. Using a style that combines documentary-like observation and aesthetic accentuation, I wanted my audience to experience young Romans perspective. How does a child perceive the world?»

Essential filmography

Rivale (Rival, 2020)
Close (2004)
Deustche Angst (medium, 2001)
Alles Ist Nie (short, 1998)
Immer Und Immer (short, 1997)
Kopf (short, 1995)

BFM 39 list of films

Think big!

Be part of the development, preservation and diffusion of cinematic culture and to share the mission of the Festival, meant at giving visibility to new authors and to emerging cinematic cultures, and at rediscovering great cinema from the past. Support an important cultural gathering but also the main reason to bring all cinema enthusiasts together, creating opportunities for debate, fun and sharing.
Your help can be crucial: together we can do more!