by Michael Koch


"An incisive, confidently unsentimental debut feature for writer-director Michael Koch, this steel-cut slice of life persistently avoids easy ethical dichotomies."
- Variety

"Marija is a powerful movie, further enhanced by Margarita Breitkreiz’s magnetic performance. Koch’s astonishing feature debut is an observation on the complex phenomenon of immigration, as seen from the inside, and devoid of false modesty or prejudice."
- cineuropa


Cast Margarita BreitKreiz, Georg Friedrich, Glga DinniK ova, Sahin eryilMaz Cinematographer Bernhard Keller Editor Florian Riegel Art direction ANNE WEICK Originalsound Jean-Pierre Gerth Sounddesign Tobias Koch, Maurizius Staerkle Drux Re-recording Mixer Jaques Kieffer Producer Claudia Steffen, Christoph Friedel, Christof Neracher, Tom Spiess Company Pandora Köln, Hugofilm Zürich, Little Shark Entertainment


Marija, a young Ukrainian woman, earns her living as a hotel maid in Dortmund (Germany), but dreams of owning her own hair salon. She puts money aside each month but when she is fired without notice, her dream seems out of reach. Without work and under financial pressure, she finds herself forced to look for other opportunities. In her determination to reach her goal she sacrifices her body, her social relationships and her own feelings.
Michael Koch’s feature film debut is the portrait of a young woman who lives on the periphery of our production- and consumer-oriented society, but does not accept the ascribed role of the victim. Demanding, determined and uncompromising, she fights to live a freer, self-determined life


What inspired the story of MARIJA ? In 2010 I was in Ukraine for a longer period of time and met a lot of people, mostly young people, who wanted to leave the country at all cost. Their determination to find a way out of a life without perspective was striking. Through a friend in Kiev I heard about a young woman who came to Germany from Odessa. She worked in Dortmund as a cleaning woman, but aspired to open her own nail salon as soon as possible. The urgency with which the young woman fought for her independence and the pride with which she responded to set backs really impressed me and made me want to examine the subject more closely. Read More...


*Mention Speicial, Jury oecumenique - Int. Filmfestival Locarno 2016
*Premio "L'ambiente è qualità di vita" - Int. Filmfestival Locarno 2016