SYDNEY FILM FESTIVAL – UNDINE

Rating: M
Length: 90 mins
Cast: Paula Beer, Franz Rogowski, Maryam Zaree

Romance and the supernatural combine in Christian Petzold’s (Phoenix, SFF 2015; Transit, SFF 2018) playful and enigmatic film starring Paula Beer and Franz Rogowski.

The myth of the water sprite yearning to live on land – and only enabled to do so through true love – underpins Petzold’s sensual and passionate film. We meet Undine (Beer, Never Look Away, SFF 2018; Transit), a Berlin historian and guide, as she endures a breakup with her lover Johannes. Undine’s reaction is far from usual. She informs Johannes that if he betrays her, she will have to kill him, and then return to the water from where she came. Undine’s explosive meeting with a professional diver named Christoph (Rogowski, Victoria, SFF 2015; Transit) sets the rules governing her life into disarray, as they embark on a romance that could change everything. Like his unforgettable previous films Barbara, Phoenix and Transit, Petzold is preoccupied here with a story of impossible love, but in this case with the chance of a happy ending. He says: “Going by the myth, she would take revenge on Johannes and kill him, but Undine defies the myth… She doesn’t want to leave. She wants to love. She meets someone else. And it’s this love story that Undine tells.”

Christian Petzold is a German director, born in 1960, who won the Silver Bear at the Berlinale for Barbara (2012) and has had five films in Competition there. He has won the German Film Critics Association Award for Best Film several times, and his most celebrated films include Wolfsburg (2003), Ghosts (2005), Yella (2007), Phoenix (2014) and Transit (2018).