DVD - 2018 | German
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In Christian Petzold's brilliant and haunting modern-day adaptation of Anna Seghers's 1942 novel, Georg, a German refugee, flees to Marseille assuming the identity of a recently deceased writer whose papers he is carrying. There he delves into the delicate and complex culture of the refugee community, becoming enmeshed in the lives of a young mother and son and falling for a mysterious woman named Marie.
Publisher: Chicago, IL :, Music Box Films,, [2018]
Copyright Date: ©2019
Branch Call Number: GERMAN DVD TRA
Characteristics: v
digital, optical, surround, Dolby Digital 5.1, rda
video file, DVD video, region 1, rda


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Dec 22, 2019

Based on Anna Seghers's 1944 novel of the same name and adapted to be set in the present. Goes to show the world has not changed much for oppressed illegal immigrants, that many survivors are stuck in purgatory at the gates to hell or freedom.

Dec 21, 2019

The book this film is based on, is better.

Dec 21, 2019

Transposing the story from 1940 to 2017 makes it credible for me, though this movie doesn't clearly identify the threat closing on Paris, then Marseilles. Cops in body armor, helmets and raid formations is today's equivalent of what happened then. This intuitive movie conveys Anna Seghers' novel, and takes risks of its own.
The actor for Georg is a trained dancer, not the conventional choice to express through face and voice. His delivery plays in tone with the premise. Central in most scenes, he informs what he learned in his own life, to sidestep past others' expectations. When sirens blare in the narrow street, his face shutters.
Then the woman who mistook him twice for her husband walks into the corner bistro. He turns and gawks. For a fugitive eluding the Nazi army and French collaborators, he shifts between ingenue and cipher, friend and hustler.
Sooner than expected after capitulation in 1940, the puppet government and proxies helped the nazis do their dirty work. French fascists waited in the wings to pillage the desperate. Who was spared ?
Weidel's wife is played by Paula Beer, achingly beautiful and fraught from distress. Her character vacillates between abandoning her husband in Paris, then begging by letter for reconciliation in Marseilles. Whipsawed between escaping and searching on foot for her husband, she distracts herself and others. Yet Georg comforts her when she turns from the doctor sheltering her.
They are stuck in Marseilles waiting for transit visas to be approved by the countries where the ships land en route, the US and other ports, before their destination. Clothes and hair rumpled, the actors look like they have been waiting in small hotels overcharging desolate transients.
In our sorry isolation, Canada and the US refused any refugees from Germany before the war, even though newspapers reported round-ups and concentration camps.
The layered story line is easy to follow, yet I keep rewinding the movie and finding other strands and parcels from fugitive living. What has changed in 80 years ? Refugees endure economic as well as social and political discrimination. Police, ordered by opportunist politicians, hunt them like criminals, compel everyone to prove they're not guilty. When the process of fair law is suspended by those least equipped to understand the consequences, we all become complicit.

Dec 05, 2019

"The people in 'Transit' have been corned in Marseilles, waiting for ships, visas and further passage. They're on the run-there's no way back for them and no way forward."-Writer/director Christian Petzold
Very good German-French movie that, unusually, is about World War II, but is set in the present. It's less distracting than is might seem, and it brings into focus contemporary issues, notably the refuge crisis in Europe. Petzold also directed "Phoenix" and "Barbara," which form a loose trilogy with "Transit."

Nov 27, 2019

I liked this film. It was a bit like Fellini or Bergman.
I was reminded of times in my life, away from home and living in hotel rooms for so long that it was hard to leave when eventually I had to return home.

Nov 26, 2019

Interesting. Couldn’t quite understand why he fell in love with Marie (Paula Beer).

Nov 13, 2019

A retelling of the plight of those fleeing German occupancy during WW2 set in modern times. For the most part, I liked it. Definitely on the "artsy" side of the film spectrum. The narration to bridge scenes was monotonous, unnecessary, and sounded like it was being read straight from the book.

Nov 07, 2019

Another excellent film by thoughtful and literate director Christian Petzold. This one based on Anna Seghers novel of the same name. The main difference between the two being that, while the novel takes place during WWII, the film is set in the present day. Given today's emergence of hard right-wing ideologies in the US and abroad, this is a poignant change to the novel.

Oct 07, 2019

A very interesting study on people who want to escape their present condition but don't have any real idea of where they want to go. It is fitting that as the credits roll, Talking Heads 1985 song "Road to Nowhere" is on the soundtrack.

Oct 01, 2019

An amazing and timely film about the nature of immigration and the pain and loss involved. I was disconcerted at first about the time setting, but came to regard this aspect of the film to be one of its finest points. Highly recommend. Kristi & Abby Tabby

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Dec 22, 2019

The raid from film:
He saw the woman, as if snuffed out. He heard the screams of her husband and children. He saw the others watching like him. Were they without pity? Relieved that it wasn't them? He noticed the woman with the dogs in one of the doorways. Their gazes met. They looked at each other for a long instant. Then averted their eyes. And he knew what was making everyone so still and hushed:
It was shame. They were ashamed. Terribly ashamed.

The raid from book:
I saw a couple of police officers climbing into their car. Another two came through the hotel door, dragging a man into the street; I could tell from the way they were pulling at him that he was handcuffed to them. And as the police car sped off I reflected happily and wickedly on the fact that it wasn’t me. I clambered down to my floor. In the room to the left of mine a group of hotel guests were gathered around the crying and screaming wife of the man who’d been taken away, trying to console her.

Dec 22, 2019

At the gates of hell from film:

A man had died. He was to register in hell. He waited in front of a large door. He waited a day, two. He waited weeks. Months. Then years. Finally a man walked past him. The man waiting addressed him, ‟Perhaps you can help me.
I'm supposed to register in hell.” The other man looks him up and down, says, ‟But sir, this here is hell.”

At the gates of hell from book:

You know the fairy tale about the man who died, don’t you? He was waiting in Eternity to find out what the Lord had decided to do with him. He waited and waited, for one year, ten years, a hundred years. He begged and pleaded for a decision. Finally he couldn’t bear the waiting any longer. Then they said to him: ‘What do you think you’re waiting for? You’ve been in Hell for a long time already.’
He's having trouble breathing.
-Why not go to the emergency room?
He's illegal. He and his mother.
-And you are not?
No, I am, too.

Dec 22, 2019

The illegal immigrants dilemma:

You have no residence permit.
-But I don't mean to stay here.
But you have to prove that.
-And how do I do that?
You go to the police station and show them your visa and ship's passage.
-So... I can only stay here if... I can prove that I don't want to stay?

(Relevant quote from book:
When she asked for my safe conduct pass I hesitated. She laughed and said, “If there’s a raid it’ll be your bad luck not mine! You’ll pay me now for a week in advance. After all, you’re here without official permission. You should have applied first at the Prefecture for a permit to come to Marseille. To which country do you want to go?” I said I had no intention of going anywhere else. I had finally landed here after having escaped from the Germans and being hounded from one city to another. I didn’t have a visa, nor did I have a ticket for a ship’s passage, and I couldn’t walk across the ocean.)

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