355 Hespeler Rd., Cambridge
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Germany/France, 2018, Drama, 101 minutes, German, French and French sign language, subtitles
Principal cast: Franz Rogowski, Paula Beer, Lilien Batman
From German auteur Christian Petzold (Barbara; Phoenix), Transit is an expertly crafted, anti-historical experiment that follows one man fleeing the Nazi invasion and launches into a narrative mind game, in one of the most daring pieces of filmmaking to date.
When Georg decides to flee Paris for Marseille on the eve of the Germans’ occupation of the city, he discovers a stranger’s personal effects in his bag. Among them are papers guaranteeing a Mexican visa and two love letters. Once he realizes they belong to Weidel, a writer who took his own life for fear of persecution, Georg intends to hand them over to the Mexican consulate in hopes that the letters will find their way back to Weidel’s widow. But when the consul accidentally identifies Georg as Weidel, he assumes the dead man’s identity in a last-ditch effort to escape. In a twisted turn of events, Georg meets Weidel’s widow, and they fall madly in love.
From there, the story launches into a tangled matrix that defies time and crosses parallel worlds, straddling both past and present. Both subtle and dynamic, Rogowski’s performance leaves you truly captivated, allowing you to suspend your disbelief and be transported across multiple timelines. Through the historic yet contemporary architecture of a technology-void Marseille, Petzold challenges viewers to question the landscape of past and present. Based on Anna Seghers’ 1994 novel, Transit is an arthouse gem that rewards the attention it demands.
Review from variety.com