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STATE I AM IN, THE (DIE INNERE SICHERHEIT) (director/writer: Christian Petzold; screenwriter: Harun Farocki; cinematographer: Hans Fromm; editor: Bettina Bohler; music: Stefan Will; cast: Julia Hummer (Jeanne), Barbara Auer (Clara), Richy Müller (Hans), Bilge Bingul (Heinrich), Rogerio Jacques (Dieb), Bernd Tauber (Achim), Günther Maria Halmer (Klaus); Runtime: 106; MPAA Rating: NR; producers: Florian Koerner von Gustorf/Michael Weber; Cinema Guild; 2000-Germany-in German with English subtitles)

A different kind of political film.”

Reviewed by Dennis Schwartz

German “Berlin School” writer-director Christian Petzold (“Yella”/”Jerichow”/”Wolfsburg”)brilliantly constructs a different kind of political film that delves into the generation gap, the psyches of fugitives on the run, the difficulties in trying to keep a nuclear family together in contemporary times in such a materialist age and how living in the past makes for a cloudy future.American folksinger Tim Hardin’s song “How can we hang on to a dream” signals the film’s complicated theme of learning to live in the present, that’s buoyed by references to Moby Dick, a Heinrich Heine poem, the Steve McQueen film The Getaway and numerous ideas on how to make a movie which is perceived as not that different from living in real life.

Clara (Barbara Auer) and Hans (Richy Müller) were in the 1960s German terrorists in the RAF and are on the run for the last 20 years. In recent times they are living underground in Portugal with their perceptive, socially awkward, antsy 15-year-old daughter Jeanne (Julia Hummer), when they are suddenly forced to flee back to Germany when their money is stolen.The conflicted Jeanne, craving for a normal teenager’s life of wearing cool clothes and listening to CDs, takes up with air-head hunk surfer Heinrich (Bilge Bingul)she met in a Portugal tourist spot, who turns up working in a pizza parlor in Germany, as her parents try to reunite with German terrorists from the past, to get some cash, now all respectable citizens unwilling to acknowledge their past.

It’s an observant film that delves into the psyches of the dysfunctional family, as it takes a long hard look at what becomes of radicals who are left in no man’s land when they can’t quite accept that their past violent but idealistic acts can’t mean much in today’s changing material world. Their actions can’t even impress their own child, who still loves them for trying their best to love her. Which the talented filmmaker hints might be all that can be expected in the ever evolving world.


Dennis Schwartz: “Ozus’ World Movie Reviews”