Directors' Showcase / UK premiere


  • Christian Petzold /
  • Germany /
  • 2008 /
  • 93 mins

Benno Fürmann, Nina Hoss, Hilmi Sözer / Fiction / German

EIFF regular Christian Petzold presents a cool, disturbing psychological thriller.

Plotted as a loose adaptation of James M Cain’s classic novel The Postman Always Rings Twice, this tense and elegant work reunites the director and star of Yella (EIFF 2007) to hypnotic effect. Nina Hoss stars as Laura, a glamorous young married woman who works for her husband’s catering business. When handsome ex-army drifter Thomas (Benno Fürmann) takes on some work for the couple, chemistry kicks in – and murder comes to mind…

2009 Archive

Image from Jerichow

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  • #1 Paul Laird / Sunday 21 June, 2009 / 18:47 GMT


    A very loose adaptation of "Postman" I would wager...loose enough to incorporate a rather unpleasant undercurrent in the shape of some racism.

    I'm being deliberately controversial here but I cannot have been alone in finding something unsavoury in the notion of a central character in a German thriller being a short, fat, ugly, Turk who can only find "love" by paying off the debts of a tall, beautiful, slim, blonde haired German woman and then holding this over her as he beats her.

    Was it just me?

    Aside from that there was nothing new here.

    A very old story being told without anything new being brought to the tale.

    I'm not sure I've ever seen a film that uses a shot of someone sweeping out the back of a delivery van twice...I'm not sure I ever will again. The blurb here paints this as a cool, disturbing, psychological thriller but it wasn't any of those things. The only disturbing thing about it was the ending...and not in a good way, it was disturbingly cliched.

    Petzold is a director with a reputation but my guess is that if this were an English language offering and coming out of the U.S that the programmers wouldn't have given it screen time.
  • #2 Stuart Fraser / Sunday 21 June, 2009 / 20:03 GMT

    My wife and I couldn't agree with Paul's comment more. We found the film to be, not just a loose adaptation of "Postman", but a somewhat poor adaptation to boot.

    The only significant change, as Paul pointed out, was the potentially racist portrayal of one of the central characters. If the above description proved to be inadequate in anyway, then there is a distinct similarity between Petzold's Ali and Shakespeare's Shylock (Merchant of Venice).

    On a positive note, the first 10-15 minutes of this film offer some promise, but the hook is soon lost. You will then spend the rest of the film waiting for a surprise or twist that will ultimately never come. Even while viewing the final scenes, you will be running an infinite series of imagined possibilities through your head, only to be disappointed by the extremely cliched ending which could, at best, be described as a dismal attempt at irony.
  • #3 Caroline Armstrong / Thursday 25 June, 2009 / 11:51 GMT

    It wasn't so much of a psychological thriller as a slow drama. Like the other comments have said, it hints at a big twist but one never comes. The drifter Thomas is rather cold and silent so I couldn't really get what he was all about. It wasn't very tense and not a lot happened.

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