Wednesday 21 June 2017

Sydney Film Festival (30) - IN THE FADE (Fatih Akin, Germany). Reviewed by Barrie Pattison

Fatih Akin
I’m kind of dis-appointed that the film which most impressed me in the festival was the one that came with the most fanfare. Fatih Akin’s new  Aus dem  Nichts/In the Fade carried off prestigious awards before it hit our shore.

Star Diane Kruger has been around for twenty years and she’s a great looking woman who can make her characters impress though she’s only had a few films that did her justice - Joyeux Noel (2005) Les brigades du Tigre (2006) and Pour elle (2008) where she wasn’t really the focal point. This time she’s front and center and the impact is in playing alarming events across her now mature features. She carries that load without a mis-step.

The film opens with her jail marriage to released Turkish drug dealer Numan Acar, which leads to a happy life with him running a migrant information centre and then she can’t get to his office because the police have the area cordoned off. A cautious inspector won’t buy her theory of a Nazi outrage and toys with the idea of Turkish Mafia or Kurdish Mafia or drug wars but then the call comes and she’s identifying suspects through the one-way mirror and Denis Moschitto her lawyer has her in the court room as co-plaintiff.

The actual trial with its graphic description and legal niceties is the stand-out section. An appearance by Ulrich Tukur (The Lives of Others/Das Leben der Anderen 2006) adds to the impact. The subsequent lurch into vigilante-ism is more suspect but by that time nothing could derail this one.

The depiction of the Turkish diaspora seen in German movies has had an interesting evolution from Doris Dörrie’s playful 1992 Happy Birthday Türke to the savage current film mainly via Akin’s work. This is probably his best yet, master crafted and in the Volker Schlöndorff tradition. You have to ask why are the first overseas notices so lukewarm or what was the nature of the contribution of Hark Bohm (films like the excellent 1987 Der kleine Staatsanwalt) who gets solo writing credit on the print though some sources credit Akin with the script.

There’s a lot more to be said about this one but my guess is that it will be back for more serious discussion later.

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