Aman is on the run from a fascist army that's occupying France. He jumps onto a train heading to Marseille and toward his very last chance to get away: a Mexico-bound cruise ship that's leaving the Mediterranean port city soon. The man is Georg (Franz Rogowski), a Jewish German radio technician. His bag contains the manuscript of a dead but famous Communist author. Also in the bag: the dead man's papers for Mexico. Georg is assuming the writer's identity. The film, by the great German director Christian Petzold, is based on a 1942 novel of the same name about a Communist rebel who escapes from a Nazi concentration camp in Paris, heads down to Marseille, and ends up waiting, and waiting, and waiting for a transit letter. Petzold, however, sets this World War II story in present-day Europe, though it is a strange intersection between the past, present, and future—the Jews who fled Nazi Germany in the late 1930s and early 1940s meet and interact with Muslims fleeing a new fascist regime. The Jews in the movie are ghosts from the past, and the Muslims are ghosts from the future. These are the specters haunting Europe today.
by Charles Mudede
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