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Entries in Franz Rogowski (3)

Thursday
Feb282019

Interview: Christian Petzold on 'Transit', melodramas and the influence of Fassbinder and Ackerman

by Murtada Elfadl

Transit, opening this weekend in limited release, is the latest from the gifted German director Christian Petzold (Barbara, Phoenix). It is a haunting modern day adaptation of Anna Seghers 1942 novel "Transit Visa". The film stars Franz Rogowski (Happy End) and Paula Beer (Never Look Away, Frantz) as would-be lovers desperate to escape an occupied France. We got a chance to interview Petzold in January when he visited New York for a retrospective of his work by the Film Society of Lincoln Center. When we meet he informs us that he’s been up for more than 24 hours because of a flight delay, so he might struggle to find the words in English. But that's not what happens. There’s a translator but she only chimes in a couple of times in our half hour conversation. Perhaps delirious from no sleep, he’s in the mood to talk.

This interview has been edited and condensed for clarity...

Murtada Elfadl: How did you come to the decision to clash the contemporary setting with the period story. Can you talk about the choice for that dissonance?

CHRISTIAN PETZOLD: I started to write the script as a typical period picture, everything was set in 1942. I was with my son on a father / son journey through California and the writing was coming easy to me --  everything going well is not a good sign. My Mac notebook was destroyed by the sun when I left in the car. I didn't have any back ups. Actually I was relieved that everything was destroyed. Period pictures are mostly museum pictures as if you are going on a journey to old times, you get to see Sherlock Holmes or Keira Knightley in costume. I thought I’d have to cast Ben Kingsley in my movie...

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Thursday
Oct112018

NYFF: Five Favorite Performances at the Festival

As the New York Film Festival winds down, here's Murtada Elfadl with some of his favorite performances from the movies he's screened.

Sakura Ando in Shoplifters
Shoplifters, Japan's Oscar submission, is about familial bonds that unite with love and real connection rather than blood. Ando plays Nobuyo, the matriarchal figure in this family of outsiders. Her character is the wisest, always knows more than the other characters in any situation. She’s in charge emotionally and that needs an actor who's restrained yet immediate and easy with feelings. She always has the emotional truth in the scene whether her character is having a tender moment with a lover, or facing up to ignorant authority.

Ando shines everytime she’s on screen, yet there’s one moment that is forever marked in my memory...

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Thursday
Sep132018

TIFF: Christian Petzold returns with "Transit"

Nathaniel R reporting from the Toronto International Film Festival

Fans of the haunting post-war German drama Phoenix (well loved right here), will want to check out the latest from one of Germany's greatest directors Christian Petzold. Like PhoenixTransit is a story of lives tragically ruined by war and new identities emerging from the rubble. Transit isn't as much of an eery mystery as Phoenix, but it plays with similar themes. Our protagonist Georg played by the arresting, highly watchable Franz Rogowski (Happy End) initially appears to be an opportunist, doing two dangerous jobs for cash involving personal letters or actual transport for desperate people trying to escape attention in Germany on their way out of the country, and stealing another man's identity as his own ticket out. But our first impression is quickly complicated...

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