A family is forced to leave their land after a plague affects their chicken farm.

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3 wins & 1 nomination. See more awards »
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Cast

Cast overview:
Margarita Greifenstein ...
Madre
Brenda Krütli ...
Brenda
Lucas Shell ...
Lucas
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Storyline

Germania is the story of a Volga German family's last day in their village in entre Rios. The Mother and her two teenage children, Lucas and Brenda, go into an intimate mourning, waiting for goodbye. But the reasons of their leaving are mysterious. Their farm has been devastated by a plague, and the villagers, who blame it on divine punishment, try and avoid being too close to them. Written by Anonymous

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Drama | Family

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March 2013 (Argentina)  »

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User Reviews

 
The life that falls apart makes no noise
23 October 2012 | by See all my reviews

There's a certain bleakness that emanates from Germania, Maximiliano Schonfeld's debut feature, the internal bleakness of a family of three, mother (Margarita Greifenstein), daughter Brenda (Brenda Krütli)and son Lucas (Lucas Schell), that face the forced exile from their rural town —a Volga Germans village in Entre Ríos—, due to a plague that affects their chicken farm.

The movie presents the last day of the family in its hometown, developing the contrasts between the emotional state of its members and the people surrounding them, the people who will stay, the life that goes on as usual, as expected. This is particularly noticeable when watching the attitudes of Brenda and Lucas and the attitudes of their friends. The siblings never smile (except for Lucas, when alcohol is involved outside a party), and sometimes they seem to be in a zombie-like state; while their friends are cheerful, trying to have a good time with them in their last hours at home. Another moment when this can be spotted is at the party, the night before the departure.

This sense of bleakness, the sense of loss and, one may say, the abyss that opens ahead of an uncertain future in a new village (the Aldea Brasilera)can also be tracked in the use of the language. The German dialect is only spoken among adults, between adults and the young siblings and between both siblings (alternating in this last case with Spanish). The siblings only speak Spanish with their friends, even when they are also part of the German community. Besides, Brenda tells her brother at one moment that they should stop speaking in dialect, as they won't be able to speak it at their new place. These signs about the loss of their original language (hence, the loss of a fundamental part of their identity, in conjunction with the loss of their "place in the world" itself)are interrelated with the emotional bleakness aforementioned (disguised of an apparent blankness, the inexpressiveness, on the surface, showed by Brenda and Lucas), with the fact that Brenda learns she's pregnant (which puts her in a crossroad: leaving without telling the father —a young worker from outside the German community— or staying, that if the father decides to take charge of the situation) and with Schonfeld's languid cinematography, which favors long, static shots, softly lighted. The no-landscape of the countryside (as, if I'm not mistaken, was defined by writer Manuel Puig, due to the monotony of the prairie)is used by the director without 'underlining' its importance, its stripped beauty.

The difficulty in breaking off from what has been your life until today, your place (geographically and emotionally), your friends, your way of life (Brenda faces a future as a waitress in the Aldea Brasilera, instead of picking up eggs at a farm)is indeed an impossibility: what is now supposed to be your past won't leave, as the family dogs which keep coming back until the very last shot of the movie, no matter the efforts of Lucas to abandon them faraway.

This has an ambiguous consequence, the pain for what is lost in the material aspect but retained, somewhat kept alive, in an inferior form, the intangibility of the memory; plus the abyss, both frightening and exciting about the unknown future. But Germania leans towards melancholy and is the first aspect that prevails, the tremendous languor in which your known life disintegrates in the same monotonous, 'inexpressive' and quiet way of the country fields.


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