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NEW TALES OF FRANZ

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by Johannes Schmid

grade: 8

New Tales of Franz hits the mark. And it does so with a minimal running time and captivating editing, bringing to the movie screen a compendium of friendship, courage and consistency that is certainly educational and pedagogical for the audience for whom it was intended.

Sincerity above everything

The second chapter of the stories dedicated to young Franz and his friends, New Tales of Franz (directed by Johannes Schmid and produced by Nikolaus Geyrhalter Filmproduktion) is a Viennese-style spy kids story, written and made for the enjoyment of an audience of children and young people, in which friendship and sincerity count more than anything else. The film thus fits into the very narrow range of sequels capable of repeating the success of the first film (Tales of Franz, also directed by Schmid in 2022). Without bringing up other film genres, truly impressive.

Little Franz, a ten-year-old boy living in Vienna, wanting to put an end to a particularly bitter quarrel between his two best friends, the clever Gabi and the friendly Eberhard, plans to spend the upcoming summer with both of them, without letting the two meet. At the same time, a series of robberies disturbs the late spring of the Viennese. The three friends, overcoming their disagreements, thus decide to set out in search of this mysterious thief, convinced that their neighbour, Frau Berger, has a secret to hide. The little Sherlocks’ investigations will begin right here, later expanding throughout Vienna, in an adrenaline-fuelled and entertaining children’s film whose title, New Tales of Franz, recalls not only the series of which it is part but also the adventurous and even epic character of the story.

Based on the book of the same name by Christine Nöstlinger, Viennese author and former Hans-Christian Andersen prize-winner, New Tales of Franz is based on a very solid structure, with the three protagonists Jossi Jantschitsch, Nora Reidinger and Leo Wacha perfectly at ease in their roles as young detectives. Alongside them, a series of highly renowned names from Austrian cinema, here in more marginal but equally decisive roles: from the Swiss Maria Bill, a neighbour who is only apparently grumpy, to Simon Schwarz and Ursula Strauss, Franz’s loving parents struggling with everyday life, whose balance needs a strong basis to be maintained.

Because, in fact, what is more important than a family that protects us and a beautiful friendship to cultivate every day, especially if you are 10 years old? The film directed by Johannes Schmid, thanks also to the screenplay by Sarah Wassermair, points decisively in this direction, proving to be a film about friendship and the inestimable value of always being sincere. This aspect is reiterated several times and seems to be the film’s real turning point, the one that transforms a criminal hunt on the streets of Vienna into a beautiful essay about courage and honesty.

New Tales of Franz hits the mark. And it does so with a minimal running time and captivating editing, bringing to the movie screen a compendium of friendship, courage and coherence that is certainly educational and pedagogical for the audience for whom it was intended. The viewers enjoyed it, I can assure you.

Original title: Neue Geschichten vom Franz
Directed by: Johannes Schmid
Country/year: Austria, Germany / 2023
Running time: 72’
Genre: comedy, adventure, family
Cast: Jossi Jantschitsch, Nora Reidinger, Leo Wacha, Maria Bill, Ursula Strauss, Simon Schwarz, Rainer Egger, Katharina Haudum, Laurenz Haider, Hanna Amarachi Ahamefule, Julia Edtmeier, Christoph Grissemann, Deniz Cooper
Screenplay: Sarah Wassermair
Cinematography: Matthias Grunsky
Produced by: Nikolaus Geyrhalter Filmproduktion, If… Productions

Info: the page of New Tales of Franz on iMDb; the page of New Tales of Franz on the website of the Nikolaus Geyrhalter Filmproduktion