Transit (2018)

LANGGerman,French,French Sign Language
Franz RogowskiPaula BeerGodehard GieseLilien Batman
Christian Petzold


Transit (2018) is a German,French,French Sign Language movie. Christian Petzold has directed this movie. Franz Rogowski,Paula Beer,Godehard Giese,Lilien Batman are the starring of this movie. It was released in 2018. Transit (2018) is considered one of the best Drama,Sci-Fi movie in India and around the world.

German troops are fast approaching Paris. Georg, a German refugee, escapes to Marseille in the nick of time. In his luggage, he carries the documents of an author, Weidel, who has taken his own life in fear of his persecutors. Those documents include a manuscript, letters and visa assurance from the Mexican embassy. Everything changes when Georg falls in love with the mysterious Marie. Is it devotion or calculation that has led her to share her life with a doctor, Richard, before journeying on in search of her husband? He's said to have surfaced in Marseille in possession of a Mexican visa for him and his wife.

Transit (2018) Reviews

  • Time Shift Is The Key


    Transit is based on a 1944 novel by Anna Seghers, in turn based on her experiences as a German Jewish Communist political refugee in Marseilles trying to get out of Vichy France to Mexico. The protagonist is a German illegally in France, who travels from Paris to Marseilles, through chance assumes the identity of a dead German leftist writer who has an exit visa to Mexico, and finds himself involved with both the writer's estranged wife and the wife and son of a fellow German illegal. What made the movie work for me is that it is not a routine World War II vintage costume drama. Director-Writer Christian Petzold has chosen to set the entire story in present day France. There are no Nazis, no swastikas, and no political explanations. There are only the omnipresent French police checking papers in the street, raiding hotels and apartments, and rounding up illegal aliens for deportation to an unnamed destination, assisted by good French citizens either venal or patriotic, and the desperate struggle of the refugees to procure legitimate identity and travel documents in the face of bureaucratic indifference or hostility. It all feels like it could be happening six months from now, there or, for that matter, here. The contemporary setting greatly increases the tension by taking away historical cues -- you have no idea how it is going to come out or whether the hero will make his getaway to Mexico.

  • the universal refugees


    Refugees stories. Running away from persecution, hiding from the dangers of deportation, waiting for the visas that can save lives, boarding the ship that navigates to the promised shore of salvation - here are themes that resonate deeply for me, maybe also because of personal and family stories that took place no farther than one generation before us. Transit adapted by Christian Petzold from a novel by Anna Seghers set during the second world war and directed by him takes an original approach for this set of subjects. It's not a flawless film, but it impressed me in a very special manner. The approach taken by script writer and director Christian Petzold is very original. The characters and narrative parts are taken from a novel by German writer Anna Seghers, a combination of stories about Jewish and German refugees running the spreading German occupation during the second world war in which fear, love and mistaken identities combine in a quite smart and interesting mix. The setting is however today's or maybe tomorrow's Paris and Marseille, with police cars and vans with sirens permanently howling and black-suited and helmeted armed policemen chasing the 'illegals' in the streets. There are some exceptions for this environment, as at some moments we seem to be in an atemporal French bistro or see the landscape of the old port of Marseille before the contemporary touristic change of face. The language used by the heroes is also a hybrid in which literary dialogs in German mix with references to the football clubs in the 21st century Champions League. The superposition is almost didactic, but it somehow works, as the story of the love triangle (or maybe a pyramid in this case) folds on the background of the lives of the universal refugees. Some speak German, some Arabic or African languages, all are running away from the eternal police of oppression. As many love stories in time of war the intrigue here is built of intense feelings doubled by fear, shades, hidden identities. It develops slowly but the excellent acting of Franz Rogowski and Paula Beer bring on screen a whole world of passion and ambiguities, of despair and impossible dreams. The secondary thread that connects the fate of the German refugees with the one of the 'local' migrants is also described in a discrete manner, avoiding the traps of melodrama. The only major flaw is the use of off-screen voice, probably reading text from the original novel that inspired the film. It is probably intended to remind us the reference work and the period when its story takes place. I find that voice over seldom works well in movies and this is not the case here. Transit tells a very important story and its production incorporates good acting and many bright ideas. It would have been better if director Christian Petzold trusted more his viewers and made some of the details of execution more discrete and less explicit.

  • Had a lot of things going for it but did not trust it's audience


    Throughout this movie I would find myself engrossed in the realistic emotional turmoil that the characters were going though. I loved that even though it was implied, they also never specifically said that it was a nazi regime and left the looming threat unnamed. The problem is found in the director or screenwriter's inability to trust the actors to show subtle emotion and for the audience to pick up on that emotion without it being spoon fed to us. I consistently found myself feeling for the characters in these tense emotional moment only for that feeling to be completely destroyed with annoyance at the narration that would start to dictate exactly what had just happened and what was currently happening on screen. Instead of completely spelling out what the audience was supposed to be feeling, the film would have been better off allowing it's audience to sit through those moments of silence and soundtrack to contemplate on the events being shown to us.

  • Read the book instead


    I read 'Transit', by Anna Seghers, years ago. It is a fine book, one of the best novels about the plight of the German exiles who found themselves trapped in Marseille, circa 1940-1941, trying desperately to get out of Europe before the Nazis caught up with them. This new film announces itself as 'freely adapted' from the novel. Well, that's certainly one way of putting it. The other would be to say that it appropriates key elements of the book's plot and grinds them into an amorphous mess. Sort of like saying that 600 kilos of minced beef is a free adaptation of a cow. It may be the same flesh, but all the life has been bled from it. The main problem is the decision to mix past and present. A number of German characters in contemporary France are forced to flee an unnamed enemy. We all know that, in 1940-1941, they were actually fleeing the Nazis. This is no minor point that can be simply written out of the plot. It is the essence of why the book was written, seeing as Seghers was a communist and a Jew. So, we have to buy into the premise of modern-day Germans hiding out from French police for no conceivable reason. Fair enough if this were some dystopian future scenario, except that they are constantly using 1940s objects, like old passports; dependent on 1940s technology, like trains and ships for transportation; and faced with distinctively 1940s problems, like trying to get transit visas through Spain and Portugal. After the initial half hour of getting used to, where you think this slippage back and forth in time might lead to something interesting, it just becomes tedious and pointless. There is also an annoying attempt to strike a tone of political urgency, without actually taking a stand on anything. This happens because the German fugitives are tenuously linked to characters of Middle Eastern origin who live in Marseille. This forced proximity gives off the slightest whiff of a comparsion between the German exiles of yesteryear and the immigrants and refugees of today. That would be a provocative argument, but it never goes beyond subliminal posturing. By failing to come out and actually say something, the film stops well short of the weighty political intentions of the book. The three stars are for the generally good production qualities. The film is well shot, edited and acted, though the soundtrack is annoying. It's the screenplay and directing that leave a lot to be desired.

  • Fascist forces destroy widespread love and trust


    In adapting German author Anna Seghers' 1944 novel, Christian Pertzold strips out all specific references to Naziism. The French setting is explicit but the time setting is left open. The clothing and buildings are contemporary but without our cell phones this could be anytime, anywhere. The "cleansing" of "illegals" here is fascism attacking humanity. It could be in Marseilles in 1942 - or Washington in 2022. Against a backdrop of government raids, public murders, terrifying sirens, a citizenry bent upon or suspected of serial betrayals, honour consigned to whispers and the shadows, the narrative unfurls as a series of touching, intense personal relationships. For a suppressed and doomed society, there is a lot of love here. Despite being warned that his friend is "dragging you down," Georg tries to smuggle out his stricken friend and doesn't leave him till he's dead. Georg drifts into a friendship with the dead friend's young son, Driss. Their street soccer blossoms quickly into a surrogate fatherhood that leads to double heartbreak when they're parted. Georg's attempt to deliver two letters to the outlawed Communist writer Wiede opens into another complex of emotional connections. Wiede killed himself in despair at his wife Marie's leaving him. But her abandonment may have been out of political necessity and selflessness. She still loves him and wants to reunite. She's falsely encouraged by the embassy reports that Wiede is proceeding with their plans to emigrate to Mexico. They, of course, are deceived by Georg's having found himself slipped into Wiede's identity. Marie is involved in another love affair with the dedicated paediatrician Richard. Though he feels bound to emigrate to start a hospital, he can't abandon Marie. But she can't leave off her commitment to recover her husband. As she and Georg find themselves drawn to each other, she agrees to leave with him only because she believes she will find Wiede on board. Georg tells her he's dead but can't bring himself to explain that he is now the "Wiede" she's confident of meeting. That is a lot of love. In such a troubled time, a time of such brutish, unnatural assault upon human rights, normal conventions no longer apply. Richard, Marie and Georg form a romantic quadrangle that only confirms her commitment to Wiede. The writer's suicide may have been out of despair, but Richard's and Georg's sacrifices of their love for Marie are heroically selfless. Of course even their virtue is doomed. If the evil of tyrants doesn't get them, there is always their malevolent aid, Destiny. The ending is open. We don't know if Driss and his mother Melissa made it over the mountains. Melissa being deaf and dumb means her young son has massive adult responsibilities. His doom is imaged in his face being constantly shot in shadow. In losing Georg Driss loses his last hope of being just a child.Their old room briefly filled with immigrants reveals another bunch of driven, doomed souls. Melissa being deprived of speech is a metaphor for the period's political silencing of individual voices, the government's poisoning of communication. Her antithesis is the range of story-telling in the film. The woman in the street and the hotel manager both "tell" on Georg. The film's sudden introduction of a third-person narrator confirms that narrative is a theme of the film. Wiede's last work becomes a relic of a lost culture, freedom and spirit of resistance. So, too, the refugees compulsively unload their own personal stories. They confirm their existence - for now. Under such horrible political conditions we make up stories to hide ourselves - like Georg's embassy claim - as "Wiede" -to retire from writing. Or a fiction is devised to impose some meaning on a broken life. Thus the dog-keeper gussies herself up and has one last splash, a luxury evening dinner with the possibility of romance around her - before mid-cigarette diving to death. The narrator's intervention may also suggest Georg did not make it over the Pyrenees either. He can't tell his own story. But the film ends open. We don't know what happened to any of the characters. We can assume the worst. But Marie's last appearance could raise the hope of a miraculous saving - or it's a manifestation of how Georg remains haunted by his thwarted generosity. In any case the film closes on a musical eruption consistent with the film's refusal to be rooted in any one time period: the Talking Heads' trip on "the road to nowhere." These characters' lives reveal a reality distant from the security Georg recalls from his mother's nursery song, in which a range of animals find their way to their homes. Here there is no home, no secure emotional roots, despite the proliferation of people needing and committing to emotional relationships. Here the fascist government has stripped all lives of security and warmth, leaving everyone in - transit. And indeed, it's a pretty sick transit, Gloria.

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