Jerichow (2009)

Jerichow (2009)

An erotic neo-noir thriller set in broad daylight by German cinema's finest

The Very Best

8.5

Movie

Germany
German, Turkish
Drama
2009
CHRISTIAN PETZOLD
Andre Hennicke, Benno Fürmann, Claudia Geisler-Bading
92 min

TLDR

In the world of desire, no one gets to leave unscathed.

What it's about

On the Baltic coast, a man named Thomas meets an affable Turkish businessman, Ali, and his mysterious German wife, Laura, not knowing how much his life is going to change.

The take

German writer-director Christian Petzold tells a story of a fateful encounter trapped in a love triangle. Thomas, Laura, and her husband Ali quickly become enmeshed in a three-way relationship rich with desire, pressure, and betrayal. Another Hitchcockian tribute by Petzold, Jerichow has all the elements of a neo-noir, but it's set in broad daylight. The plotting, the secret love affairs, the femme fatale with no back up plan: all the necessary ingredients for a chaotic tale, wrangled by desirous tensions, to say the least.  A film whose mystique is rather haunting, but far from spectral, Jerichow doesn't conceal its clear references to "The Postman Always Rings Twice".

What stands out

Petzold's long-standing collaborator, Nina Hoss, is once again the bright star of this film, even if her character remains solely in the background. Laura is an unusual femme-fatal: she doesn't seduce, she doesn't provoke. If anything, she is quiet and receptive, and very sparse in her words. It's impressive how much Hoss can build around her protagonist with so little lines, but the synergy between her and Petzold as director is undeniable. Her stern look is also a desiring one and in the end, Laura is a woman who always gets what she wants, at whatever cost. The subtle, multi-layered performance by Nina Hoss fuels the film with even more contradictions, but only on the level of emotional alignment: the plot is univocally clear when it comes to who wins and who loses in the game of love.

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