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Transit (2018)

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When a man flees France after the Nazi invasion, he assumes the identity of a dead author whose papers he possesses. Stuck in Marseilles, he meets a young woman desperate to find her missing husband - the very man he's impersonating.

Director:

Christian Petzold

Writers:

Christian Petzold (adaptation), Anna Seghers (novel)
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Popularity
1,840 ( 299)
2 wins & 10 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Franz Rogowski ... Georg
Paula Beer ... Marie
Godehard Giese ... Richard
Lilien Batman Lilien Batman ... Driss
Maryam Zaree Maryam Zaree ... Melissa
Barbara Auer ... Architect / Frau
Matthias Brandt ... Barmann / Erzähler
Sebastian Hülk ... Paul
Emilie de Preissac Emilie de Preissac
Antoine Oppenheim Antoine Oppenheim ... Binnet
Louison Tresallet Louison Tresallet ... Jean Binnet
Justus von Dohnányi Justus von Dohnányi ... Conductor
Alex Brendemühl ... Mexican Consul
Trystan Pütter ... American Consul
Ronald Kukulies Ronald Kukulies
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Storyline

When a man flees France after the Nazi invasion, he assumes the identity of a dead author whose papers he possesses. Stuck in Marseilles, he meets a young woman desperate to find her missing husband - the very man he's impersonating.

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

The New Masterwork from the Director of Phoenix and Barbara

Genres:

Drama

Certificate:

See all certifications »
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Details

Country:

Germany | France

Release Date:

1 March 2019 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Transit See more »

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Box Office

Opening Weekend USA:

$31,931, 3 March 2019, Limited Release

Gross USA:

$275,707, 21 March 2019
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Color:

Color

Aspect Ratio:

2.39 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

According to Christian Petzold,in some ways, all of the screenplays that he and his late collaborator Harun Farocki developed together were more or less based on Transit by Anna Seghers. See more »

Connections

References Dawn of the Dead (1978) See more »

Soundtracks

Du und du: Opus 367
Composed by Johann Strauss
(c) copyright control
Recorded by Stefan Will
See more »

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User Reviews

 
Read the book instead
21 April 2018 | by rafael105See all my reviews

I read 'Transit', by Anna Seghers, years ago. It is a fine book, one of the best novels about the plight of the German exiles who found themselves trapped in Marseille, circa 1940-1941, trying desperately to get out of Europe before the Nazis caught up with them. This new film announces itself as 'freely adapted' from the novel. Well, that's certainly one way of putting it. The other would be to say that it appropriates key elements of the book's plot and grinds them into an amorphous mess. Sort of like saying that 600 kilos of minced beef is a free adaptation of a cow. It may be the same flesh, but all the life has been bled from it.

The main problem is the decision to mix past and present. A number of German characters in contemporary France are forced to flee an unnamed enemy. We all know that, in 1940-1941, they were actually fleeing the Nazis. This is no minor point that can be simply written out of the plot. It is the essence of why the book was written, seeing as Seghers was a communist and a Jew. So, we have to buy into the premise of modern-day Germans hiding out from French police for no conceivable reason. Fair enough if this were some dystopian future scenario, except that they are constantly using 1940s objects, like old passports; dependent on 1940s technology, like trains and ships for transportation; and faced with distinctively 1940s problems, like trying to get transit visas through Spain and Portugal. After the initial half hour of getting used to, where you think this slippage back and forth in time might lead to something interesting, it just becomes tedious and pointless.

There is also an annoying attempt to strike a tone of political urgency, without actually taking a stand on anything. This happens because the German fugitives are tenuously linked to characters of Middle Eastern origin who live in Marseille. This forced proximity gives off the slightest whiff of a comparsion between the German exiles of yesteryear and the immigrants and refugees of today. That would be a provocative argument, but it never goes beyond subliminal posturing. By failing to come out and actually say something, the film stops well short of the weighty political intentions of the book.

The three stars are for the generally good production qualities. The film is well shot, edited and acted, though the soundtrack is annoying. It's the screenplay and directing that leave a lot to be desired.


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