How long is an eternity? A few years or just a breaking of the waves at the rugged Baltic coast? Andreas and Martin share all the ups and downs of life, and their son is maturing. A cautious approach to the traces of a long relationship.
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A small quiet place in Thuringia. Andreas' (42) workshop is running well again and Martin (43) is not as much on the road as before. Son Max (19) is out of the house. Finally, the two have more time for themselves and travel in November to the Baltic Sea - as they have always done it before. But Martin is dissatisfied: the weather is bad and he would have preferred to stay at home. Andreas tears off his clothes and throws himself into the cold sea. Full of care, Martin tries to pull him back and swallows the salty water as he stumbles. Back in their holiday home the mood is disturbed by the different expectations. A cautious approach to the traces of a long relationship. Paths tells the love of two people. Not how they got together, not a period that they live through, but their day-to-day-life: all the years between the first kiss and now.
For those who have loved, lived, lost and then let go
Like the ebb and flow of the waves of the Baltic Sea that rhythmically mark the seasons of Andreas and Martin's life together, Ein Weg (Paths/The Path) is slow moving, sometime almost glacial, but with a broody energy that keeps the film driving forward. This is a subtle and powerfully melancholic work; it is wrapped in a visual and tonal drabness, but the elegance and colours of life shine through with a wistful playfulness if you let go of the resistance you feel toward the film's apparent inertia, and allow the narrative to carry you through the story of these men's lives together. Whilst this film deals with love and loss, life's moments of lightness and its challenges, togetherness and the unwinding of a once great partnership, it is not a political piece, and tries neither to romanticise nor demonise the state of the gay man's plight in modern era. This is not necessarily a film for the young and hopeful, nor for those looking for reassurance that life will always resemble the moments captured in selfies and family photos. It will however resonate with those who have spent long years with a partner, and those who have had some time to step back and appreciate the beauty in all the weather that life's seasons bring.
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