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Or, if you are already a subscriber Sign in. She first encounters Andi Max Riemelt , who looks about the same age as her, on a street corner.
'Berlin Syndrome': Film Review | Sundance 2017
He drops some books, offers her some strawberries, and then pulls her in for an overly familiar kiss on both cheeks. The guy is so obviously a creep that it seems ludicrous that any young woman would stay to talk with him, much less spend a whole day in his company, as Clare does, during which time he also puts his hands around her throat. The remainder of the film is a slow, relentless grind through her sexual slavery and emotional abasement. There is little explicit violence, but what we see is enough. And we soon discover, along with Clare, that Andi is quite the Bluebeard.
I so deeply disliked this film that I doubt my own feelings; perhaps I misunderstood it. But I hated its steady, unperturbed stylishness, which seemed to belittle the horrific subject matter. But nor is Shortland brave or cruel enough to implicate her audience in the scenario, as a director like Michael Haneke might have chosen to do. As the film goes on, we learn more about Andi than we do about Clare.
This echoes some dialogue in the opening scenes, when Andi chides Clare for her interest in photographing the historic architecture of communist Berlin. And if Shortland really wanted to investigate any connection between the two circumstances, Berlin Syndrome would have had to deal more thoroughly with the question of surveillance, which was so integral to the manufacture and maintenance of fear inside the GDR.
There are long stretches in which Palmer is left on her own, with little to do as a performer other than to look scared, and sometimes bored. That moral message is as cramped and depressing as a locked room.
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Berlin Syndrome , minutes, directed by Cate Shortland, based on the novel of the same name by Melanie Joosten. Distributed in Australia by Entertainment One. In cinemas from 20 April Anwen Crawford is a Sydney-based writer and critic. If you have forgotten your sign in details, or if you receive an error message when trying to submit your comment, please email your comment and the name of the article to which it relates to ABR Comments. We will review your comment and, subject to approval, we will post it under your name. How to resolve AdBlock issue?