Films & Schedules

  • Jerichow

  • Christian Petzold

93 minutes

Production Company:
Scharmm Film Koerner & Weber/BR/ARTE
Florian Koerner von Gustorf, Michael Weber
Christian Petzold
Production Designer:
Kade Gruber
Hans Fromm
Bettina Böhler
Dirk Jacob
Stefan Will
Principal Cast: Benno Fürmann, Nina Hoss, Hilmi Sözer

International Sales Agent:
The Match Factory

TIFF Tags: Immigration  Romance 

Sunday September 0705:30PM SCOTIABANK THEATRE 4 Add Film to MyTIFF Filmlist
Tuesday September 0907:30PM VARSITY 4 Add Film to MyTIFF Filmlist
Friday September 1202:00PM AMC 4 Add Film to MyTIFF Filmlist
Friday September 1202:00PM AMC 5 Add Film to MyTIFF Filmlist

The Turkish diaspora in Germany has inspired powerful work, from the films of the great Rainer Werner Fassbinder to those of the young Fatih Akin. Christian Petzold joins their ranks with an extremely disciplined and beautifully crafted story set in the former East Germany.

At the outset of the film, Thomas (Benno Fürmann) is returning home for his mother's funeral, a seemingly simple premise that rapidly becomes something far more complex and compelling. Running from a business associate to whom he owes money, Thomas stumbles across a man who is destined to change his life. Stopping at a roadside accident, he befriends Ali (Hilmi Sözer), a middle-aged Turk who, under the influence, has almost driven his van into a local canal. The two men soon find that they are very useful to each other. Ali, his licence now suspended, needs a driver to ferry him around his ragtag kingdom of local snack bars. Thomas, meanwhile, is penniless, and Ali seems cash-flush. The film takes a decidedly steamy and noirish turn when Thomas discovers that Ali is married to a hot young blonde (Nina Hoss). It is not long before Petzold seamlessly brings all of his characters' competing needs and desires together.

Ali is suspicious of everyone, especially the owners of his fast food joints, every one of whom he suspects is cheating him. Intensely jealous, he shadows his wife's comings and goings, but takes a surprising liking to Thomas, a veteran of the Afghan-Soviet war whose combat training proves invaluable when clients get out of hand. So when Thomas finds himself in the passionate arms of Ali's young German wife, we know that things are heading for disaster – though perhaps not of the kind we anticipate.

There is an almost Bressonian rigour to Petzold's direction. Clean, spare and controlled, it is a perfect counterpoint to the pulpish, Postman Always Rings Twice plot that unfolds before our eyes. Petzold never puts a foot wrong, cleverly playing with the audience's expectations – and prejudices – before pouncing on his threesome.

Piers Handling

Christian Petzold studied at the Free University in Berlin before graduating from the German Film and Television Academy Berlin. His feature films are The State I Am In (00), Wolfsburg (03), Ghosts (05), Yella (07) and Jerichow (08).

Cadillac People's Choice Award