• Meta

  • « | Home | »

    Connie Walter’s Schattenwelt – Terrorist’s Long Shadows

    By Tanja Meding | December 19, 2008

    In November 2004, German Film Services launched German Premieres, an ongoing presentation of new and noteworthy German films for the US market. This very successful screening series opened with Dennis Gansel’s Napola. Since then, German Film Service NY representative Oliver Mahrdt has presented more than 15 films to the NY industry, ranging from such high-end documentaries as Thomas Grube’s Trip To Asia to low-budget indie films like Robert Thalheim’s Netto. Earlier this December, German filmmaker Connie Walther arrived in New York to present her latest feature film, Schattenwelt (Long Shadows) (Germany, 2008).

    Walther’s film tells the tragic story of Valerie, a young woman struggling with the accidental loss of her father at the hands of terrorists and her desperate need for closure. When she learns that the possible perpetrator, Widmer, is going to be released from prison after serving 20 years, she sets up an intricate plan to take revenge. Rather than focusing on the prisoner and the challenges he faces when returning to civilian life, Walther’s film is far more interested in exploring the scares left on the second and third generation of both victims and perpetrators.

    Valerie’s quest for vengeance climaxes when she accompanies Widmer on a trip to Berlin to meet his grown-up son, Samy, for first time since imprisonment. In a violent and highly charged encounter between the three parties, history repeats itself, and Samy’s boyfriend becomes the innocent victim of that confrontation, just like Valerie’s father.

    Slowly paced with long silences, this quiet yet intense film offers the audience space to reflect on the complicated and complex issues of guilt, atonement, revenge, redemption, and the retribution it addresses. Unlike other films on the same subject matter, Walther does not glamorize and idealize the former terrorists, but depicts their struggle to survive in a society that no longer shares or even understands the idealism that once motivated them.

    German actors Ulrich Noethen and Franziska Petri offer strong and convincing performances as Widmer, the ex-terrorist, and Valerie, the victim. Throughout the film, the roles of victim and perpetrator are constantly reversed and challenged. One of the film’s strong points is that neither of the two protagonists ever lets his or her guard down.

    Connie Walther’s thought-provoking Long Shadows had its world premiere at the Rome International Film Festival and will open theatrically in Germany next spring. Click: www.longshadows-the-movie.com.

    Topics: Film Reviews, German Film | Comments Off on Connie Walter’s Schattenwelt – Terrorist’s Long Shadows

    Comments are closed.