In the summer of 2006, film directors Dominik Graf, Christian Petzold and Christoph Hochhäusler began corresponding with each other on the subjects of film aesthetics, the Berlin School, Germany and the film genre (their correspondence was published in German film magazine Revolver). Two years later they decided to continue this theoretical discussion with a joint film project: three individual stories revolving around the same “fait divers:” the escape of a convicted criminal from police custody. Graf’s Komm mir nicht nach tells the story of a police psychologist who meets old acquaintances while investigating a case. In Petzold’s Etwas Besseres als den Tod, a young man doing alternative national service experiences a love story without a future. And in Christoph Hochhäusler’s Eine Minute Dunkel, an indefatigable policeman hunting the escaped prisoner begins to doubt false certainties. Three films, three styles, three exciting approaches, variations, analyses. German television stations made this all possible. As Dominik Graf wrote: “… this work vis-à-vis mainstream TV, at its edges, in contradiction to and yet, whether voluntarily or involuntarily, in commentary on that mainstream – I find and have always found this to be extremely creative.”
Christian Petzold’s Beats Being Dead:
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, as 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. –Berlinale
Christian Petzold was born September 14, 1960, in Hilden, as the oldest of three sons. He grew up in Haan, where he went to school and finished his high school degree in 1979. After finishing civil service, Christian Petzold went to Berlin in 1981 and started to study German studies and dramatics at Freie Universität Berlin. After his graduation in 1989, Petzold continued to study at Deutsche Film- und Fernsehakademie Berlin (dffb). During his studies, Christian Petzold worked as an assistant director for Hartmut Bitomsky and Harun Farocki – who contributed to all of Petzold’s later feature films – and worked as a film critic for several newspapers and magazines.
After several short films, including Süden and Das warme Geld, Petzold finished his graduation film for dffb, Pilotinnen, in 1994. The film production company Schramm Film Koerner & Weber participated in the production of Pilotinnen and Petzold continued to collaborate with the… read more
Minor, of course, coming from Petzold, but there are brief moments of unease which could have been coaxed into full-on dread to imbue the shrewdly if not always gorgeously lensed German vistas (expect no less from Petzold's constant helpmeet/co-auteur, Hams Fromm). Other hallmarks are still in order : "non-spaces", impetuous and laconic characters, seamless montage, narrative misdirection. Revel.
The director of Barbara talks horror films, surveillance, shooting on 35mm, the sound of a room, the silence of a set.
What’s fascinating is not only the impulse to rank the three the films of the trilogy but also how differently various critics do.
A look at the posters for the films in the main slate of this year’s New York Film Festival.
A three film project by three German directors finds three different stories in one town being menaced by an escaped criminal.