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In order to escape fascist encroachment in Europe, Georg (Franz Rogowski) goes on the run to Marseille, France, using the identity papers of a dead writer. Once safely across the border Georg finds a place among other refugees, and falls for the mysterious Marie (Paula Beer), who is searching for her husband. There’s just one problem: the name on Georg’s papers is that of Marie’s husband.
Transit adapts a novel of the same name by Anna Seghers. While the book is explicitly set during World War II, the setting of this film version by Phoenix director Christian Petzold is somewhat less explicit, adding to a sense of uncertainty and displacement that makes this refugee thriller so effective.
- Franz Rogowski
- Paula Beer
- Godehard Giese
- Lilien Batman
- Maryam Zaree
- Barbara Auer
- Matthias Brandt
- Sebastian Hülk
- Emilie de Preissac
- Antoine Oppenheim
Did You Know?
- 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.
- When the train arrives in Marseille, the actor playing Heinz is very clearly breathing, his chest and Adam's apple rise and fall with each breath in the lengthy closeup, even though the character is dead.
- Georg: It was cold. The Mistral. He was tired. Nobody looked at him. That's the terrible thing. Not that she's your dirty face staring at the torn clothes.The terrible thing is that they are you do not see that you are not there.
Atom User Reviews
An acute reflection of the current refugee crisis, minimalist and poetic in its approach, Transit, unlike its protagonists, seamlessly reaches its destination: a conclusion so heartbreaking, it will resonate for weeks after.
There is no denying that, initially, Transit’s story might feel excessively oblique. But as the film slowly puts its formalistic and thematic cards on the table, it becomes clear that its storytelling technique is really just a reflection of its core themes.