Looks beautiful: Christian Petzold’s ‘Undine’ at German Currents Film Festival

Dance · Film

One of Germany’s most celebrated film auteurs, Christian Petzold, brings a Los Angeles premiere to the German Currents Film Festival which kicks off today. Petzold’s UNDINE is a retelling, updated, of the myth of a water-nymph who marries a mortal. The story is set in modern-day Berlin.

Told through Petzold’s precise visual style, the film stars Paula Beer as a city historian lecturing on Berlin’s urban development, as she heads towards fulfillment of the ancient myth to kill the man who betrays her and return to the water. Her chance encounter with the sensitive industrial diver Christophe (Franz Rogowski), however, proves that no destiny is certain. Beer, who won the Silver Bear for Best Actress at the 2020 Berlin International Film Festival, reunites with her TRANSIT co-star Franz Rogowski, in this romantic, yet chilling fantasy, whose mysteries lie submerged in water. In German with English subtitles.

For dance people, the new film brings to mind Ondine, a three-act ballet created for The Royal Ballet in 1958 by Sir Frederick Ashton as a vehicle for Margot Fonteyn. The ballet had original music by a German composer Hans Werner Henze.

dame margot fonteyn, ‘ondine’ chor. sir frederick ashton, 1958

UNDINE and more films | German Currents Film Festival | Nov 9 – 15, virtually on line

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