Dir: Volker Schlöndorff | Cast: Nina Hoss, Stellen Skarsgard, Niels Arestrup | Ger/France/Ire | English | 106 min · Drama
Volker Schlöndorff (The Tin Trum) returns to Berlinale with an elegant contemporary drama lead by Stellan Skarsgard’s subtle portrait of Max Korn, a seasoned writer who knows how to project romantic illusions of love into his relationships, but whose fame has taken him to a place of unreality, and who’s totally unaware of it. During his life, he has moved through a series of female conquests without really engaging with anyone. In New York to promote a book with his latest much younger partner (Susanne’s Woolf fawning ‘creative’ groupie), he reconnects, via a business associate (a sininster and alluring Niels Arestrup) with Nina Hoss’ glamorous Rebecca, another brief fling from the past who appears aloof at Max’s reappearance, scarcely concealing a troubled secret behind her sophisticated persona. The central characters make a fascinating couple – much in the style of After Midnight: Max is accessible yet empty inside; Rebecca’s outward frostiness conceals a highly romantic idealist. An impromptu trip to the tip of Long Island to view Rebecca’s putative holiday home is the catalyst for her character’s tender eruption of feelings that flood back when she confesses her troubles to the now enraptured Max.
Shot on a handheld camera in the slick Manhattan venues and the limpid platinum beaches of Montauk, on the tip of Long Island, this an engrossing and emotionally moving story of lost opportunities and dreams that asks the question: do we settle for the ordinary or the life less ordinary? MT
BERLINALE 9-19 FEBRUARY 2017 | IN COMPETITION