email print share on Facebook share on Twitter share on reddit pin on Pinterest

PRODUCTION / FUNDING Germany

The Red Sky dawns for Christian Petzold and Paula Beer

by 

- The acclaimed director has begun shooting his latest feature, a story of young lovers in a coastal German town beset by forest fires

The Red Sky dawns for Christian Petzold and Paula Beer
Director Christian Petzold and actress Paula Beer

There are official arthouse "trilogies" (like Kieślowski’s or Seidl’s), and unofficial or spiritual ones — German auteur Christian Petzold has a definite affinity for the latter. Following what he himself described as his "Love in Times of Oppressive Systems" trilogy (composed of Barbara [+see also:
film review
trailer
interview: Christian Petzold
film profile
]
, Phoenix [+see also:
film review
trailer
making of
interview: Christian Petzold
film profile
]
and Transit [+see also:
film review
trailer
interview: Christian Petzold
interview: Franz Rogowski
film profile
]
), he is now making a series of films loosely inspired by the classical elements of water, earth, fire and air, commencing with 2020’s Undine [+see also:
film review
trailer
interview: Christian Petzold
film profile
]
and its whimsical tale of water nymphs. Now, the fire will rise for The Red Sky, which has just started principal photography in Ahrenshoop and the surrounding areas, all on the Baltic Sea coast of Germany. Paula Beer, returning to the Petzold fold for their third collaboration, leads a cast of rising German and Austrian actors, including Enno Trebs (The White Ribbon [+see also:
film review
trailer
interview: Michael Haneke
film profile
]
), Thomas Schubert (this year’s Berlinale premiere Axiom [+see also:
film review
trailer
interview: Jöns Jönsson
film profile
]
), Jonas Dassler (who memorably played the serial killer in The Golden Glove [+see also:
film review
trailer
interview: Fatih Akin
interview: Jonas Dassler
film profile
]
), and Langston Uibel (the Netflix hit Unorthodox [+see also:
series review
series profile
]
). 

(The article continues below - Commercial information)

The following plot synopsis, translated from German, is circulating for the film: “A hot, dry summer, like so many in recent years. Forest fires are uncontrollable. Four young people meet in a holiday home on the Baltic Sea not far from Ahrenshoop. Slowly and imperceptibly they are enclosed by the walls of flame. A red sky arches over them. They doubt, they are afraid––not because of the fires. It is love that scares them: ‘Who dies when they love…!’ They get closer, they desire, they love. Then there are the flames.” Also present is a strong queer element, and many sex scenes, including one inspired by an ‘X-rated dream.’ In an interview promoting Undine upon its New York Film Festival premiere, Petzold teased the film, saying “it’s something to do with love and kissing, and homosexual love too. I want to see bodies, and so on. I can’t do it with masks and so I want to do it for real.”

Elaborating on the trilogy angle, he also referenced his late mentor and collaborator, the experimental filmmaker Harun Farocki: “[Farocki] said to always think about a trilogy so you have something to work on. You are thinking in serials and patterns and you work on the difference. This I like, a little bit like in the ’40s and ’50s where people make one movie after another and they have some correlation.”

As with his past work, the film will be produced by Florian Koerner von Gustorf and Michael Weber, both for Schramm Film Koerner & Weber. Further funding will come from public outfits, including Berlin’s Beauftragte der Bundesregierung für Kultur und Medien and Kulturelle Filmförderung Mecklenburg-Vorpommern and the federal Filmförderungsanstalt

(The article continues below - Commercial information)

Did you enjoy reading this article? Please subscribe to our newsletter to receive more stories like this directly in your inbox.

Privacy Policy