Christian Petzold – Yella (2007)


Christian Petzold’s drama deals with a woman, who leaves her hometown for a promising job and a new life,
but is haunted by the truths of the past. As her marriage to Ben broke and her professional career has no future
in her native town in the Eastern part of Germany, Yella has decided to search for a job in the West. When she gets
to know Philipp, a smart executive at a private equity company in Hanover, she becomes his assistant and gets involved
into the world of ruthless and big business. Realizing her dreams could come true with Philipp’s help, she starts hearing
voices and sounds from her past, which menace her new and better life… Continue reading

Christian Petzold – Polizeiruf 110: Kreise (2015)


German review by T. Groh:

[…] Ein Meta-Fernsehkrimi. Für dieses Vorhaben bietet der BR-“Polizeiruf” um Kommissar von Meuffels einem etablierten Auteur wie Christian Petzold das ideale Experimentierlabor: Schon die Initialzündung im Jahr 2011 (Dominik Grafs “Cassandras Warnung”) setzte einen deutlichen Akzent, der sich im weiteren Verlauf der Reihe bestätigte: Der Münchner “Polizeiruf” (mit weiteren Beiträgen u.a. von Hans Steinbichler, Leander Haußmann, Hendrik Handloegten, Jan Bonny, nochmal Graf) ist im Wesentlichen ein Regieformat, das Reibeflächen zwischen Formatvorgabe und individueller Handschrift nicht nur zulässt, sondern offen sucht. In verlässlicher Regelmäßigkeit entstanden hier die besten oder wenigstens interessantesten Fernsehkrimis der vergangenen Jahre. Und mit dem von Matthias Brandt kongenial verkörperten Kommissar von Meuffels etablierte sich eine der spannendsten, trotz gedämpftem Spiel facettenreichsten Ermittlerfiguren. […] Continue reading

Christian Petzold – Cuba Libre (1996)


by jan onderwater (Amsterdam, The Netherlands)

Depressing, dark love drama with thin story line, that makes you wonder whether the makers believe in life at all. The male protagonist is constantly running into problems and gets beaten up time and time again, so much so that after a while I could not help laughing, which cannot have been the intention of the makers: they are vèry, vèry serious. The crux of the film seems to be a sharp comment on the money driven German society, in which it is impossible to show any real affection; of course this could be a dilemma of the makers themselves: money is not the problem, but what you do with it. Not forgotten is to include an extreme right wing man whose self-proclaimed purpose in life it is to free the street of socially undesirable elements. It is all very heavy symbolism with no relief, but it is certainly well-made with a script that – as the film progresses – becomes less and less surprising. The two acting leads are good.; fine cinematography. Continue reading

Christian Petzold – Phoenix (2014)


A smoky duet between double-bass and piano at the start of Christian Petzold’s Phoenix promises a dose of film noir. That promise is complicated, if not exactly broken, by what follows. But then, this is a movie all about disguises, reinventions and deceptive appearances.

It begins with a monstrously tantalising scenario. In mid-1940s Germany, a vehicle is halted at night by US soldiers. A figure is whimpering in the passenger seat, their face concealed by blood-soaked bandages. Perhaps we are in for some Eyes Without a Face-style horror, then, rather than noir? Half-wrong again. Continue reading

Christian Petzold – Barbara (2012)


Summer in the GDR in 1980. Barbara, a doctor, has submitted an application to emigrate to the West. She is punished by being posted away from the capital to a hospital in a small town. Jörg, her lover in the West, is busy planning her escape via the Baltic Sea. It’s a waiting game for Barbara. Her new flat, the neighbours, summer and the countryside no longer hold any charms for her. Although she is attentive to her young patients in the department for pediatric surgery under her new boss, André, she is deliberately cool to her colleagues. Her life, she thinks, will begin later. Continue reading

Christian Petzold – Dreileben – Etwas Besseres als den Tod AKA Beats Being Dead (2011)


A big hospital on the outskirts of a small city in the middle of the Thuringian Forest. Here Johannes carries out his alternative national service. The head physician, a family friend, has recruited him. Johannes gets to know Ana. During the night of their first embrace, a sex offender escapes from the hospital. His flight and the police’s hectic search accompany the story of Johannes and Ana – a love story transcending boundaries, without a future. Continue reading

Christian Petzold – Gespenster (2005)


Nina, an end-of-teenage orphan with mental problems, starts a new job as a garden cleaner when she meets Toni. They fell in love with each other, but soon Toni starts betraying Nina. In the meantime, Francoise is picked up at a psychic department of a Berlin hospital by her husband, Pierre. After seeing Nina, Francoise believes that she has found her kidnapped daughter Marie, but neither Toni nor Pierre believe her. Nina is unsure about what to think… Continue reading