Posts Tagged ‘Christian Petzold’

Paula Beer, Franz Rogowski

“TRANSIT” My rating: C+

101 minutes | No MPAA rating

“Transit” is a great idea that runs itself into the ground.

The opening moments of Christian Petzold’s film (he adapted it from Anna Seghers’ novel) take place in Paris under the German occupation.

Except that the setting isn’t the 1940s…it’s today.

The cars, the clothing, even the flat-screen TVs scream 21st century. But things are missing. Like computers and cel phones.

Our hero, Georg (Franz Rogowski), is part of an underground movement and desperate to get out of the country.  The police are making sweeps of blocks, sending undesirables off to hastily-erected camps.

The film never really lays out its geopolitical roots. Is this a new fascist movement that has swept the country? Was there a physical invasion of France? Is the year 2018 or are we supposed to imagine that somehow it’s still the ’40s?  (Hitler is never mentioned, nor is National Socialism. No German helmets or swastikas.)

Anyway, Georg manages to hide in a boxcar on a train heading to Marseilles. Once in the port city he joins the ranks of thousands of others lining up at the U.S. and Mexican consulates hoping to get transit papers that will allow them to board a ship for freedom (apparently there are no airlines in this alternative reality).

Georg is better off than most. He’s managed to assume the identity of a semi-famous writer, Weisel,  who has committed suicide; his newly-assumed standing as a man of letters moves him to the front of the immigration line.


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