"Sternenberg" is a genial but utterly predictable light comedy whose bland nature won't produce more than a few chuckles. Christoph Schaub's sophomore feature was subsequently considered good enough for local theatrical release. Chances of a similar decision made outside home territory are slim.

Like a G-rated “Back to School” for the junior set, “Sternenberg” is a genial but utterly predictable light comedy whose bland nature won’t produce more than a few chuckles, depending on one’s tolerance for watching a guy in his late 60s taking classes with 7-year-olds. Originally made with the small screen in mind, Christoph Schaub’s sophomore feature was subsequently considered good enough for local theatrical release. Chances of a similar decision made outside home territory are slim.

The town of Sternenberg is having difficulty sustaining an elementary school for only six kids. Double-crossing schools inspector Freudiger (Daniel Rohr) has teacher Eva (Sara Capretti) nearly resigned to the closing. Enter Franz (Mathias Gnadinger), come back from decades abroad to sell off his remaining property. Discovering he has a deeper connection with Eva than anyone realized, Franz concocts a scheme to keep the school open by enrolling himself. Expect the usual visual gags of a fat man with bright moppets, complete with a hastily convened press conference to publicize the evil machinations of the school superintendent. Predictable TV fare in look and feel.

Sternenberg

Switzerland

Production

Buena Vista Intl. (Switzerland) presents a Langfilm production, in association with Schweizer Fernsehen DRS. (International sales: Telepool GmbH, Zurich.) Produced by Bernard Lang. Directed by Christoph Schaub. Screenplay, Micha Lewinsky.

Crew

Camera (color), Peter Indergand; editor, Marina Wernli; music, Balz Bachmann, Peter Braker; production designer, Marie-Claude Lang Brenguier; costume designer, Dorothee Schmid. Reviewed at Locarno Film Festival (Appellations Suisse), Aug. 9, 2004. German dialogue. Running time: 91 MIN.

With

Mathias Gnadinger, Sara Capretti, Walo Luond, Daniel Rohr, Hanspeter Muller, Stephen Sikder, Stephanie Glaser, Ettore Cella, Cheryl Graf, Giulia Piazzitta, Delaila Piasko, Ferdinand Irion, Roman Schuppli.

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