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German Competition 2015
Café Waldluft Matthias Koßmehl

Now that the Italian tourists no longer come refugees live in this hotel in the idyllic Bavarian Alps. Their lives intersect, sometimes as comedy, sometimes as tragedy. A different kind of “Heimatfilm”.

Café Waldluft

Documentary Film
79 minutes

Credits DOK Leipzig Logo

Matthias Koßmehl
Matthias Koßmehl
André Feldhaus
Bastian Esser
Andreas Nicolai
Matthias Koßmehl
Till Wollenweber
Tourists used to come by the busload for their place in the sun at the beautiful Café Waldluft, at least during their well-earned holidays. For the past two years, though, the long-established hotel in Berchtesgaden with its view of the “fateful mountain” of the Germans, the Watzmann and its foothills, has accommodated guests from other regions of the world: they came from Syria, Afghanistan or Sierra Leone and have certainly not chosen this alpine idyll freely. Their stay as asylum seekers consists of endless waiting, tiring visits to administrative offices, being homesick and worrying about relatives.

The dynamics in the small town have also changed. But if Matthias Koßmehl opens his film with a traditional Bavarian costume parade in slow motion his only motive is to eliminate the expectations raised by this stereotype. Instead he takes a sober but open-hearted look at the encounters that actually happen in this strange place. There is Mama Flora, the owner, who trusts in God and takes care of each of her protégés, and there is the East German cook who has found her elective home here. Chance encounters with regulars or hikers and the everyday coexistence at the house match a whole range of intersecting lives. The Watzmann, covered in clouds or clearly visible, is always on the horizon. A documentary “Heimatfilm” in which the term home has many facets.

Lars Meyer

Award winner of the DEFA Sponsoring Prize 2015