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Catherine H. Flemming
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Constantin von Jascheroff,
As the story begins, we are taken to the bedroom of Fred and Anita, a couple of a certain age, comfortably set for what appears to be a happy retirement. Not all is all right. We witness as Fred gives himself what we took for an insulin shot in his stomach. The couple go about their day in different activities. Fred tells Anita he will go to his office, and Anita has some shopping planned.
Little prepares Anita for what she is about to see in town. Coming out of a store, she sees Fred pass her by, carrying a box that could be a minor appliance. She follows him to an apartment building. Going to the last floor that shows in the floor indicator, Anita is horrified. She finds Fred in the empty place. Anita feels betrayed. Could he be having an affair with another woman? She disappears without hearing Fred's explanation as to his presence in the apartment.
Later, at home, Fred arrives, but Anita is visibly upset by the new development. Their son Patrick has arrived. His older sister is getting married. Patrick notices the tension in the atmosphere of the house. It does not take long for him to learn the real problem: Fred is facing a health issue that is evidently hanging over him and Anita. The prostrate tumor is hard to operate. He figures at his age chances are for the tumor to develop at a slower pace. The parents ask not to reveal the secret.
The wedding takes place in a country church. For all appearances all is fine between Fred and Anita. Caroline and Mathis arrive with Yvonne and Patrick. Finally the truth is told, ending the small celebration. Anita has decided to enter a senior residence that caters to the wealthy. She has probably set her eyes into a life without Fred. She cannot face going living without him. Fred feels dejected by Anita's actions, so he goes to see her to convince her to come home, something she does on her own, after a few days in the residence. Fred and Anita come to an understanding. We watch them preparing for what appears to be a night in town, which does not give us a clue as to their joint decision.
We were quite surprised when this film showed up, unexpectedly, on a cable channel. Not having a clue as to what it was about, but noticing the great Bruno Ganz and Senta Berger were on it, we decided to take a chance, that really paid off. The film was directed with sure hand by Sophie Heldman, who co-wrote the screenplay with Felix Zu Knyphausen. The subject matter is treated with maturity as well as dignity. There is something about Anita and Fred that goes beyond the love they have felt for one another for what appears to be forever. There is anger in Anita's reaction in finding out what were Fred's intentions for getting the apartment without consulting her. Eventually, the couple is reconciled. The bond between them is unbreakable. Anita cannot conceive a life without Fred.
Bruno Ganz is a solid actor that has given his admirers many hours of joy at the movies. He does not disappoint in this tale of love during a crucial point of his life. Mr. Ganz makes us believe he is none other than Fred, the man who feels he much rather live with the thread to his health and face it as courageously as he can. Senta Berger has enjoyed a long career. Unfortunately, a lot of her work has been seen on television. Ms. Berger projects an aura of beauty, elegance and intelligence in the way she approaches Anita.
Sophie Heldman was making her debut in a full length film that is a credit to her talent. "Colors in the Dark" is a fine piece of film making by Ms. Heldman. She gets the best out of the two principals as well as giving the picture an excellent and refined touch. We look forward to her next projects with anticipation, wishing her well in whatever she decides to do.
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