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BERLIN 2006 Competition

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Longing: Legend of a romantic hero?

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Longing: Legend of a romantic hero?

After The Elementary Particles [+see also:
film review
trailer
film focus
interview: Franka Potente & Moritz Ble…
interview: Oskar Roehler
film profile
]
and The Free Will, it was time for the third German title to screen in official competition at the 56th edition of the Berlinale. sharing the spotlight with Michele Placido's Crime Novel, Longing [+see also:
trailer
film profile
]
(Sehnsucht) brought us a usual love triangle approached in an unusual way yesterday, revealing director Valeska Grisebach as an interesting new talent to follow.

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Longing tells the story of Markus, a fireman apparently happy with the simple life he shares with his simple wife, Ella. One day, during a business trip, Markus meets a waitress named Rose. He falls for her and undergoes a turning point in his life. What was once tranquillity suddenly turns into mute restlessness yet, despite the chaos, Markus successfully manages to lead a double life for a while.

Built upon ellipses and shot in a documentary style, the script brings nothing new to the world of adulterous stories. However, Grisebach treats both subject and characters with sensitivity and irony, playing with old concepts of love and romanticism without insisting too much on either. That softness, which may be mistaken for superficiality, is probably what makes the film a pleasant experience and is also what saves it from falling into the clichés of melodrama. The tone is mainly serene and when violence finally explodes, it is probably the ultimate display of the characters' need for expression. Fooling our expectations, the announced tragic ending becomes an urban legend, which gains its shape in the amazing final scenes, with children reporting on the events and questioning whether Markus was – or was not - a romantic hero.

Grisebach told the press that the entirety of the film was written before shooting, leaving very little space for improvisation. However, the choice of working with those children and with first-time actors Andreas Müller, Ilka Welz and Anett Dornbusch makes Longing an interesting attempt to create real moments of authenticity and pleasant surprise among the films competing for the Golden Bear.

Longing was produced by Peter Rommel Produktion , which is also managing international sales, in collaboration with ZDF3sat, ZDF and GFP.

See also

Film Business Course
Festival Scope Quinzaine
WTW Unexpected Love Stories
 

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