LFF 2020 ‘Undine’ Review: Mythical Tragedy Sticks to the Shallow End

Undine is being dumped and she’s not taking it well. She promises to kill her ex lover if he doesn’t abandon his new partner. However she soon meets a very attentive driver with whom she begins a passionate affair. But she still feels the draw to her violence promise, and may not be able to accept this new life that presents itself.

Transit Director Christian Petzold has broken from his typical beautifully expressive realism to deliver a dark fairy tale with a modernist twist. As you’d expect from Petzold it’s very elegantly paced, well acted and affectingly morose. But it’s a less substantial work, trading on whimsy rather than depth.

There are interesting elements that try to tie ancient mythologies about water, the architecture of Berlin following the second world war and concepts of fate into the tragedy but its hard to say what the effect is meant to be. Paula Beer is excellent as Undine. She is mysterious but very relatable.

Undine is actually a fairly charming work. It’s a tragic love story that may not manage to plumb the same depths as films like Transit but is effectively diverting as a dark fairy tale.

Three Stars

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *