East Germany. Summer, late 70's. Three years after her boyfriend Wassilij's apparent death, Nelly Senff decides to escape from behind the Berlin wall with her son Alexej, leaving her traumatic memories and past behind. Pretending to marry a West German, she crosses the border to start a new life in the West. But soon her past starts to haunt her as the Allied Secret Service begin to question Wassilij's mysterious disappearance. Is he still alive? Was he a spy? Plagued by her past and fraught with paranoia, Nelly is forced to choose between discovering the truth about her former lover and her hopes for a better tomorrow. —Main Street Films
The institution of trust
As it's name suggests, Christian Schwochow's 'West' is a film about the West, but also the East: specifically, about cold-war Germany. Its central protagonist, wonderfully played by the beautiful Joerdis Triebel, is a somewhat arrogant east German who, on crossing the iron curtain, struggles to cope with the demands made of an unconnected immigrant in a strange country; but who also struggles with the legacy of her past. The film neither glosses over the evils of the eastern regime, nor suggests that life in the west is a simple panacea; above all else, it demonstrates the fatal way that police states damage the institution of trust in a way that cannot easily be repaired. The ambiguous figure of a rumoured informer provides a focus for a powerful story that is ultimately more about people than systems.
- Dec 10, 2015
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