date festival


Christian Petzold

In attendance

Since the end of the 1990s, Christian Petzold has established himself as the most important German director to emerge after the fall of the Wall. His work is impressive in its attempts to embrace the issues of contemporary Germany and to question the legacy of reunification. He collaborated on his screenplays with experimental documentary filmmaker Harun Farocki until the latter’s death in 2014.

Not afraid of pure fiction, and enjoying playing on detective, romantic and even horrific references, Petzold began his career with several films directly rooted in a certain type of everyday life. Die innere Sicherheit (The State I Am In), his first feature film, which the Festival Premiers Plans screened in official competition in 2001, evokes the traces of extreme left-wing terrorism; Yella, in 2007, tackles contemporary capitalism as a mirage, and Jerichow the role of money in the story of a love trio.

Actress Nina Hoss became the face of his films and their collaboration is compared to that of Fassbinder and Hanna Schygulla. She is the force behind Barbara in 2012 and Phoenix in 2014. With these two films, Christian Petzold began to gain public recognition as his cinema took a more historical turn. He then explored going back in time, returning to the traumatic origins of his country (the communist bloc in the first; the post-war period in the second). Claude Chabrol is a reference for him (his film Wolfsburg is an adaptation of the novel at the origins of Que la bête meure (This Man Must Die)) and like Chabrol, he tries to question the contemporary through narrative plot and an acute knowledge of the cinema of Alfred Hitchcock. Transit (2018) further extends his research with a singular adaptation of a 1940 novel by Anna Seghers. Georg, the central character, transits through Marseilles with the aim of going to the United States while Nazi troops are advancing into French territory. The wild originality of the film is to have transposed the story into the contemporary world without going through a historical re-enactment. Finally, Undine (2020), which won two prizes at the last Berlin Film Festival, is a variation on the myth and a new way of renewing his cinema by taking it on the path of the dream.


Feature films
Germany - 1995
Die innere Sicherheit
Germany / Portugal - 2000
Germany - 2003
Germany - 2007
Germany - 2008
Germany - 2012
Germany / Poland - 2014
Germany / France - 2018
Germany / France - 2020
Short films
Germany - 1990
Germany - 1991
Carte blanche
Nicht ohne Risiko
Harun Farocki
Germany - 2004