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Gespenster (Germany)

Old 03-18-07, 03:48 PM
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Gespenster (Germany)

Winner of the German Film Critics Award in 2006 for Best Feature Film and nominated for Silver Bear at the Berlinale.

Edinburgh Film Fest Critics blurb (Neil Young):

A return to form for writer-director Petzold after the disappointing Wolfsburg, Ghosts is a characteristically intricate and gently suspenseful tale whose slow pace ultimately rewards patient attention. The central character is a mousy German teenager Nina (Julia Hummer) who has been in trouble with the Authorities; we follow the development of her friendship with wild-child Toni (cast standout Sabine Timoteo); and also her dealings with an emotionally-fragile Frenchwoman (Marianne Basler) who claims that Nina is her own child, having been abducted as a two-year-old.

Aurelien Recoing plays the Frenchwoman's husband, making this the second Edinburgh 05 title (after the rural One Long Winter Without Fire) in which he plays a man grieving the 'loss' of a small daughter. Ghosts has a little more of the guessing-game about it: like Petzold's two best films (The State I Am In and Something to Remind Me) it's a carefully-modulated puzzle building up to a revelation of one of the characters' true identity, a denouement which casts a different light on all that's gone before.

A work of calm surfaces and strong emotions, Ghosts is a subtle, compelling, mature work that will probably repay a second viewing. So how sad that the general moviegoing British public seem unlikely to get the chance even of a first encounter: it's nothing short of a scandal that, while all manner of undistinguished French product obtains distribution (see yesterday's Les yeux clairs), no company has yet taken a chance on any Petzold feature. Ghosts may not be quite up to his finest work, and as a director he's clearly never going to be anything other than unobtrusively functional - but he remains one of European cinema's most remarkable scriptwriters, one of the very few film-makers whose work gets better the more you think about it afterwards.

German disc is English friendly.


Last edited by pro-bassoonist; 03-18-07 at 03:50 PM.
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