By the director of Phoenix

Transit, Christian Petzold’s follow-up to his 2014 film Phoenix, is an audacious adaptation of Anna Seghers’s 1944 novel Transit Visa. Its hero, Georg (Franz Rogowski) is a German exile who, desperate to escape France after the Nazi invasion, heads to the port city of Marseilles, where he assumes the identity of a dead writer. Of course, Marseilles is filled with other exiles also dying to get out of Europe, and things get even more complicated for Georg when he meets a woman (the great young actress Paula Beer) who’s searching for her missing husband so they can head to America.

Poster for the refugee drama TransitConjuring a world where everyone will do what they must to escape certain doom – the major characters are all in transit between different countries and different identities – Petzold adds yet another disorienting spin by staging this action, set in 1942, against the backdrop of present-day France, with its modern cars and shops. Oddly enough, this stylistic strategy works beautifully, heightening the unsettling unreality of Georg’s life on the run and suggesting that this WWII-era story about immigrants fleeing oppression is relevant to the experience of immigrants right now.

– John Powers, Vogue

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