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Posts Tagged ‘Paula Beer’

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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Pierre Niney, Paula Beers

“FRANTZ”  My rating: B

113 minutes | MPAA rating: PG-13

“Frantz” is a rewardingly old-fashioned affair, a love story (sort of) set in the immediate aftermath of World War I and told with a quiet, unhurried perceptiveness that reminds of Truffaut’s “Jules and Jim.”

This Cesar-nominated film from writer/director Francois Ozon (“Swimming Pool,” “Eight Women”) is steeped in love and loss.

Anna (a gently radiant Paula Beer) lives in a provincial German town with Doctor and Mrs. Hoffmiester (Ernst Stotzner, Marie Gruber), who would have been her in-laws had not their son, Frantz, been killed in the recent  hostilities. They’ve unofficially adopted Anna; it’s one way to deal with their overwhelming loss of their only child.

Each day Anna dutifully lays flowers on Frantz’s grave (actually his body is somewhere in France); she’s surprised to discover one morning that someone else has been doing the same.

That someone is Adrien (Pierre Niney), a young Frenchman who claims to have befriended Frantz during the latter’s pre-war visits to Paris.

Initially Anna and the Hoffmiesters are appalled. Like many of their neighbors they want nothing to do with their former enemies.

But Adrien’s soulful earnestness — and his obvious distress at the loss of Frantz — softens even unforgiving Teutonic hearts. Ere long the  Hoffmeisters embrace the stranger, happy to hear his tales of carousing with Frantz in the City of  Light.

Anna slowly opens up to this gentle stranger, who despite having been an enemy combatant still seems preferable to the middle-aged burgher who’s been wooing her…a fellow who practically has “future Nazi” stamped on his forehead.

All goes nicely until Adrien, wracked by guilt, confesses that he never knew Frantz before the war, that they only met briefly on a battlefield, and that something awful happened.

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