Review: Lines of Flight—Christian Petzold's "Transit"

Christian Petzold’s latest film Transit—his third consecutive period piece, second successive literary adaptation, and first theatrical feature to not star Nina Hoss in quite some time—continues what might be described as the German director’s ongoing European project. It is telling that the title of his 2000 feature The State I Am In, after which last year’s New York retrospective of his work was named, suggests a filmmaker concerned with taking the pulse of a nation. Adapted from Anna Seghers’s 1942 novel of the same name, drawn from the writer’s experience of fleeing to Mexico during World War II, Transit completes Petzold’s self-dubbed “Love in Times of Oppressive Systems” trilogy, comprised of the 1980s spy-melodrama Barbara (2012) and his post-wwii Vertigo-facelift Phoenix (2014). From its first frame, though, one would be forgiven for echoing the enduring refrain of David Lynch’s Twin Peaks: The Return (2017)—for though

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