Joya Thome: Queen of Niendorf
School is out for the summer in Niendorf, a small village in Brandenburg, south of Berlin. Normally 10-year old Lea would join her girlfriends to go to summer camp. But lately they have been acting so strangely that Lea isn’t really keen to pass the holidays with them. Instead her attention is focused on a gang of boys and their activities by the lake. Joining them would be far more interesting, but the boys don’t want girls in their gang. Yet, Lea persists and no test of courage can phase her.
First shown at the Max Ophüls Film Festival for German language films by young directors, this modest, undramatic film has charmed many critics and viewers. Though it is through Lea’s eyes that we experience what the gang is up to and what goes on with a couple of the otherwise largely absent adults, this is not just a film for children. It is a film for all those that enjoy drifting through the day, aimlessly roaming through fields, observing a beetle or diving into the deep end of the local pool. A film for those that enjoy to watch a determined girl slowly becoming a queen without making the slightest fuss about it.