2018 | Drama | 101 minutes | In German with English subtitles
The story starts in Paris when the city is undergoing a brutal occupation. Although it’s likely that this is a Nazi occupation, the film doesn’t define it as such. Georg is asked by his friend to deliver two letters to a writer named Weidel. When Georg enters Weidel’s hotel room, he discovers that Weidel has committed suicide. George sees an opportunity to escape France. He takes Weidel’s belongings, visa, and documents and heads for the port city of Marseilles. On the train, Georg is joined by a badly injured man named Heinz. Unfortunately, Heinz dies along the way. Now passing himself off as Weidel, Georg feels confident he’ll be able to get passage on a ship headed for Mexico and safety. In Marseilles he meets Driss, Heinz’s son, and befriends him. He also meets Marie, Weidel’s wife. Georg feels deeply for Maria and becomes a father-figure to Driss. But he doesn’t reveal to either one who he is and he’s tortured living this lie.Georg feels like hell as he must make a decision about going to Mexico and about the possibility of leaving behind Maria and Driss.
Why Stream This Film?
- Rotten Tomatoes Score (Critics Consensus): 94%
- Metacritic Score: 82
- Transit is Petzold’s fourth film to compete for the Golden Bear at Berlinale (Berlin International Film Festival).
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This is very much a Christian Petzold film, first and foremost, It explores the themes that clearly fascinate him with his confidence of visual language and gift with performers. It is daring, riveting, and the first great movie of 2019.
Petzold and his collaborator, Harun Farocki, were such big fans of TRANSIT that over the course of 15 years they would meet annually to reread and discuss the novel. That kind of devotion not only shows how compelling and sustaining a work of literary art can be, it also as in the case of this deeply humanistic film, can build a bridge across time, between the victims of global strife in the mid-20th century, and those beleaguered displaced persons in our 21st century.
Few directors tell large-scale stories with as much sensitivity as Cuarón. In ROMA he refined his style of marshaling various narrative strategies, including cinematic spectacle. He uses both intimacy and monumentality to express the depths of ordinary life.
There are those who treat melodrama as a dirty word, but no working filmmaker gives it a cleaner, crisper reputation than German auteur Christian Petzold, whose extraordinary anti-historical experiment TRANSIT nonetheless registers as his most conceptually daring film to date. Petzold takes a big, possibly divisive risk with this modern-dress Holocaust drama—but the payoff is wrenching.
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