16.04. ‐ 21.04.2024
Zukunft Deutscher Film 2024 Filmstills

Scorched Earth

Thomas Arslan

Professional gangster Trojan has been at it for a while. Quiet, suspicious, and full of caution, he moves through the criminal underworld. His next case seems to be going according to plan as well. With his accomplices, he steals a painting by Caspar David Friedrich from a museum in Berlin. But the dubious client thwarted their plans. The handover fails and soon, it is not about money anymore but instead about their very survival.

14 years after In the Shadows, Thomas Arslan has continued his trilogy about Trojan. Scorched Earth is located in an abandoned city, in Berlin as you have never seen it before. Arslan creates an atmospheric gangster film free of all unnecessities that playfully uses motifs from different genres.

More information Lichter FilmfestLichter Filmfest

Direction Thomas Arslan
Country Germany
Year 2024
Duration 101 min
Language German
Production Florian Koerner von Gustorf, Michael Weber, Anton Kaiser
Cast Mišel Matičević, Marie Leuenberger, Alexander Fehling, Tim Seyfi, Bilge Bingül, Marie-Lou Sellem
Camera Reinhold Vorschneider
Script Thomas Arslan
Editing Reinaldo Pinto Almeida
Sound Jochen Jezussek, Christian Obermaier, Tormod Ringnes

Berlinale 2024

About the Director

Thomas Arslan was born in Braunschweig in 1962. He lived in Essen until 1967, then he went to a primary school for a few years in Ankara, Turkey, before he returned to Essen in 1971, and finished his A-levels in 1982. After his civilian service in Hamburg, he lived in Munich for one year and studied German philology and History for two semesters. Following a few film internships, he studied at the DFFB in Berlin from 1986 to 1992. Arslan was a guest at the Berlinale on several occasions since his feature film debut Turn Down the Music, he was at the Forum with his films Dealer, A Fine Day, From Far Away, and In the Shadows. Gold and Bright Nights celebrated their premieres at the Wettbewerb. (Berlinale)

Press reviews

“Arslan continues what his Berlin School colleague Christoph Hochhäusler proved with his sensuous film Till the End of the Night at the previous festival. He designs a cinema that does not have to choose between genre or auteur film, between grounding or refining, that does not have to deceive itself, and therefore openly speaks about deceptions — because they are sometimes more beautiful than the so-called honest work.” (Daniel Moersener, Zeit Online: https://www.zeit.de/kultur/film/2024-02/verbrannte-erde-thomas-arslan-misel-maticevic-kriminalfilm-berlinale)

“With his straightforward crime thriller “Scorched Earth”, Thomas Arslan succeeds in creating an excellent piece of German genre cinema with his brilliant protagonist Mišel Matičević.” (Michael Meyns, filmstarts.de: https://www.filmstarts.de/kritiken/326175/kritik.html)

The director about the film

“Trojan is a character who wants to work independently if possible and not for organised crime because the latter includes strict correlations that can trap you. He tries to live by his own rules and this requires part-time accomplices. All in all, he is someone who is not a gangster by the book because he works like an independent freelancer.” /Thomas Arslan, taz-interview: https://taz.de/Thomas-Arslan-ueber-Verbrannte-Erde/!5990459/)


Future German Cinema

© Reinhold Vorschneider / Schramm Film