The movie

Roter Himmel (English subtitles)

A group of friends in a holiday home by the Baltic Sea where emotions run high as the parched forest around them catches fire.

Length: 103 min
Country: Duitsland
Language spoken: Duits
Language subtitles: Engels
Cast: Paula Beer, Enno Trebs, Jonas Dassler
Director: Christian Petzold
Release date: 2023

Description

Leon and Felix’s plan was to spend the summer together in a holiday home on the Baltic coast. They wanted to be there as friends but also to work – one on his second book, the other assembling his art portfolio. But Nadja and Devid are also there, and they bring lots of positive vibes with them. Four young people experimenting with love, even though this does not come easy to Leon. His unfinished manuscript haunts him wherever he goes, whether he is at the summerhouse or the beach. The others’ good mood often causes his to plummet. A visit from his publisher is imminent. But, as the latter arrives in his nifty small car, the forest begins to blaze. It rains ash, the sky turns red, and a relationship-drama that merges physical intensity and artistic sublimation takes a turn into a new dimension.

This second part of Christian Petzold’s trilogy begun in 2020 with Undine, is about not being able to sleep and wanting to love; about writing and being read; about being in the world and yet possibly allowing life to slip by. A film that is suspended between symbolism and realism, both funny and deeply tragic.

Christian Petzold has for years been a titan of German cinema – and the Berlin film festival itself – and his new movie is an odd, quibbling tragicomedy with perhaps a little of Bergman’s Smiles of a Summer Night, avowedly intended as the second part of a trilogy about creativity and love (the first being Undine).