Christian Petzold’s (Barbara, SFF 2012; Phoenix, SFF 2015) daring new wartime drama sets a love story between World War II refugees in contemporary Marseille. German refugee Georg (Franz Rogowski, Victoria, SFF 2015; In the Aisles, SFF 2018) flees Paris carrying with him the documents of a famous author, Weidel, who has taken his own life rather than face his persecutors. Most vital of the documents is a visa assurance from the Mexican embassy which allows the holder safe passage away from war-addled Europe. In Marseille, Georg assumes Weidel’s identity, intending to keep up the ruse until he can escape to Mexico. While awaiting the necessary paperwork, Georg comes upon and soon falls in love with the mysterious Marie (Paula Beer, Franz). She is also waiting in Marseille and looking for her husband, who is said to have arrived in the city with a visa for her: he is the writer, Weidel. As he did in both Barbara and Phoenix, Petzold looks incisively at the behaviour of people in times of political turmoil. He considers their motives, their emotions and their identities. His radical decision here to retain the context of Nazi-occupied France, but set the film in the modern day, is a stark reminder of the repetition of history.
Like all of his work, the writer/director’s fourth film in Berlinale competition is elegantly made, ingenious and intellectually challenging. – Demetrios Matheou, Screen International
Christian Petzold’s beguiling refugee romance is like a Kafkaesque Casablanca. – David Ehrlich, IndieWire
Christian Petzold is a German director who won the Silver Bear at Berlin for Barbara (2012) and has had four films in the Berlinale Competition. He has won the German Film Critics Association Award for Best Film five times, and his most celebrated films include Wolfsburg (2003), Ghosts (2005), Yella (2007) and Phoenix (2014).
Travelling Film Festival Newcastle, June 22 - 24: Tickets also available for Transit at TFF Newcastle.