Georg (Franz Rogowski), a German refugee in Nazi-occupied Paris, comes into possession of the papers of Weidel, a dead writer, which includes a visa from the Mexican consulate. Georg assumes the dead man’s identity and flees to Marseilles in the hope of securing passage. Whilst waiting for his ship, he encounters other refugees desperately waiting for transit visas, including the mysterious Maria (Paula Beer), who is trying to find her husband, the same Weidel. As Georg falls in love, he must somehow rescue Maria without revealing his secret.
Writer-director Petzold strips his unconventional adaptation of Anna Seghers’s 1942 novel of any period detail, locating the story in present-day Marseilles, a formally daring conceit that invests this tale of immigration and the rise of the far right in Europe with bracing contemporary resonance.
(Notes by David O’Mahony.)
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