A couple with a criminal past have been living on the run with their 15-year-old daughter. When their money is stolen, they must return secretly from Portugal to their native Germany, a journey during which Jeanne’s teenage development coincides with the violent disintegration of the family cell.
This film is not currently playing on MUBI but 30 other great films are. See what's now showing
Ghosts are Petzold friends, as we may see in his best films like "Gespenster" or "Yella", but political issues is his most consistent subject. In this "Running on Empty" fiction, like in Lumet's film, there is enough drama to buid interest, but, helas, not enough formal vertigo. The vigilant cameras moments are very good, like inserts in the movie that makes"ghosts" appears, installing an idea of threat.
Petzold delivers his first feature proper in such a way as to demonstrate great mastery of craft without particularly courting fanfare. It shows his strength and confidence. But also foregrounds the fundamental weakness that cannot help but call attention to itself: though the film is commendably shot and cut, its cold precision is also married to a story and characters that feel inert. Nice ending, though.
"How can we hang on to a dream?" How can we hang on to the dream of an E.U. that like the 15-year old Jeanne oscillates between her attachment to the burdened past she inherited, her still unformed, independent identity and her flirtations with the utopic "Endless Summer" of the U.S. Farocki's script, brilliant as always, exposes the multicultural and simultaneously unwelcome, jingoistic nature of a pubescent Europe.
Amazing coming-of-age story. It's not about the mystery of the parents' crime as much as it is about the young girl's realization of self. Her discovery of what's important and what she believes, what she has to do to hold on to those beliefs and ultimately what kind of love is she willing to give (and to receive). It's so textured and intricate. I just love it.
5/10. Underwhelming, considering its glowing reception by German critics and its rank as Petzold's breakthrough film. For many "Berlin School" clichés, look no further: permanently gloomy faces, the looks of a 1980s TV film, and overlong takes. Most importantly in light of this tragedy's realistic pretensions, the law-enforcement material was BS. Never got the hype about Julia Hummer either—what a joke.