NYC- The 23-year-old Jonathan sacrifices himself taking care of his cancer-stricken father Burghardt and works on the family farm with his aunt Martha. Looking after his father is an everyday struggle for Jonathan, one which never seems to end. The relationship between Burghardt and his sister Martha is tense, for years they haven’t spoken a word with one another.
The fact that Burghardt is incapable of emotional closeness and that he leaves Jonathan’s questions concerning the death of his mother unanswered, does not make the situation any easier. Jonathan can feel that there is something lying between the both of them, but he cannot manage to overcome it in order to get through to his father.
As Burghardts condition is increasingly getting worse, Martha hires the nurse Anka to help them take further care of him. Jonathan feels extremely attracted to Anka, fascinated by her openness and her ease to encounter the essential questions in life, he falls head-over-heels in love with her.
But when Burghardt’s long-lost friend Ron shows up, Jonathan’s father thrives. Jonathan on the other hand sees Ron as an intruder. His reluctance reinforces as he finds out more and more about his past. A long buried family secret puts the father-son relationship to an acid test.
Jonathan slowly understands, that he has to find his own way and that loving also means being able to let go.
JONATHAN will be released February 7th, 2017 in the U.S. and Canada via Wolfe Video on DVD & VOD and across all digital platforms including iTunes, Vimeo On Demand, and WolfeOnDemand.com and many major retailers.
JONATHAN tells in powerful images, the dramatic story of a family whose closely guarded secret gradually urges to a surface of silence and oblivion.
The screenplay for JONATHAN by director and writer Piotr J. Lewandowski was awarded the Hessian Film Award 2013 as “Best Screenplay” and the Emdener Screenplay Award 2014 and was nominated for the Thomas Strittmatter Price 2014. Piotr J. Lewandowski already caused ripple with his awardwinning short film FLIEGEN (FLIES; 2009), in which Sandra Hüller and Jacob Matschenz excelled. For GÖTTER WIE WIR (GODS R US) he won the 2013 German Television Award in the category “Best Comedy” and received a Grimme Award nomination.
Playing the role of the sensitive Jonathan, who is trying to keep his world from falling apart, is Jannis Niewöhner (RUBINROT; SAPHIRBLAU; OSTWIND 2). The father of Jonathan, Burghardt, is played by André M. Hennicke (VICTORIA, ANTIKÖRPER). The Nurse Anka is played by Julia Koschitz (HIN UND WEG, GESPENSTERJÄGER). Thomas Sarbacher (ZOE UND JULIE, DIE WELLE) is casted for the role of Burghardts youth friend Ron and Barbara Auer (DAS WOCHENENDE, DAS ENDE EINER NACHT) for the role of Burghardts sister Martha. Futhermore Max Mauff (VICTORIA, DIE WELLE) is playing the role of Jonathan’s best friend.
„ In a real sense all life is inter-related. All men are caught in an inescapable network of mutuality, tied in a single garment of destiny. Whatever affects one directly, affects all indirectly. I can never be what I ought to be until you are what you ought to be, and you can never be what you ought to be until I am what I ought to be… This is the inter-related structure of reality..“
REV. MARTIN LUTHER KING, JR.
JONATHAN is a story which polarises. I am surprised over and over again as on how different people react to it. However, the most unbelievable strries are really written by true life – so is this one. And JONATHAN is based on a true occurrence. When I heard this story from a friend, I was strongly seized of it. To me it was perfectly clear that I had to tell this story. Withal I keep asking myself over and over again, how it is possible, that nowadays certain topics are still strongly put under taboo and withheld.
And not out of respect, but due to trepidation an a low limit of tolerance. Thus the real Burghardt found very little understanding from his own family, just like “my” Burghardt in the film. Psychically and physically he thereby completely lost balance and has finally snapped. The load of the web of lies which he himself built up was way too large. However, sometimes there are no easy solutions.
As member of the Thomas Strittmatter Prize jury Volker Schlöndorff said that JONATHAN is “… a bold script, which requieres a talented director. Percisely because it is do unforgiving, because it speaks truths about death and sex , which are likly to be withheld, because it doesn’t use common dramatic stuctures…, because it lives fully through the charakters, the script is shaped with an urgency, which many other lack of. Schlöndorffs words mean a lot to me. Paradoxically the subject death polarices as well as the subject sexuality. No light fare. I am aware of that.
JONATHAN aims at emotions, does not give onself to illusions. I want to tell the story of family and friendship profoundly, characterized by small gestures and lovingly delineated characters. The movie should convey the existential fears and dreams of a Young man, who has to querrel the subject death, a subject which ist linked to live inevitably.
Despite the dramatic undertone humor does not come of badly in JONATHAN. As tragic and humor are connected to one another in real life and do not space out one another, I think it is essential to have an influence of humourous elements next to dramatic situations. I personally enjoy this style very much since I can draw on my experience with humourous short films, like the feature comedy DIE AUFSCHNEIDER (BUTCHERS) or the with the 2013 German Television Prize awarded ZDF cultural series GÖTTER WIE WIR (GODS R US), where I directed or co-directed.
I think the story of JONATHAN is greatly up to date. It tells the story of a here and now, a story of dreams, love, hate, tolerance and acceptance. Many aspects are closely connected to my own life and my own experiences, which is why it is very important for me to tell this story. Not least because of my childhood, which I have spent on a organic farm for a great part and the local vicinity to nature. To me it is very important to show the vulnerability and fragility of the characters, to accurately show their every day life in a close-to-nature environment, but also their absolut desire to live and their fantasy, with they manage to sustain every day, in order to keep their dreams alive.
I would like to thank all of our wonderful sponsers in germany, who helped us Support the realisation of my debut film in Hessia and Baden-Württemberg, where I have lived and studied for many years.
Piotr J. Lewandowski