Berlinale ProgrammE 2018

Birgit Kohler

Two broken souls meet by chance in the countryside. A man and a woman, neither of them young anymore, both saddled with great disappointments. They understand one another, even without the need for many words, each providing the other with support and solace for this brief section of life’s journey which they share. Cinema has taken many different roads to tell stories of despair, pain, grief and loneliness. Yet this film forges its own unique path. It leads from an abandoned carpenter’s workshop via a run-down old house to a port. The pace is sedate, the whole area deserted. A bottle of schnapps, a bouquet of gladioli, a few apples and potatoes, a photograph, a suitcase and a book of Russian poems – these are the only props needed for the minimalist plot. The man constructs a wooden cross at one point and it’s just one of many scenes showing hands at work. With striking images of huge intensity and occasional bursts of percussion on the soundtrack, an intimate drama unfolds which is pared down but still full of emotion, a rumination on where we come from and where we are headed.