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  • Winterjagd is fantastic. I don't get how a film this good has only one write-up on IMDb (mine)...what is up with the world. Maybe the director should consider making a zombie superhero film next.

    If you like intelligent thrillers; if you like the idea of a tense drama taking place in a huge and remote countryside mansion in a Germany blanketed by dark and snow; if you like the intimacy, intensity, and director's pure focus of a fine-acting ensemble cast's battle of wits; then you will love this film. See it, somehow. I saw it alone at a Toronto Jewish Film Festival venue, so after it ended I sought out strangers in the audience to talk to about it. Everyone I talked to was excited about it.
  • Warning: Spoilers
    The film's last shot brings to darkened life the favourite painting Anselm earlier described. In the eponymous "Winter Hunt" a small hunched figure that stumbles through the cold field is both the hunter and the hunted. Lena's splintering the frame prefigures her exposure of the old Nazi guard Anselm's false history. She breaks the picture, then his story. Identifying with the painting, Anselm feels unfairly hunted by stories about his Auschwitz past. Lena turns out to be his new pursuer whom he briefly holds as his prey until her evidence pierces his defence. Anselm has studiously denied his past, in the face of trials and public persecution. Here Lena's candid self-revelation forces him to confront the truth, his guilt, and its poisonous hold over his family for 70 years. Exposed, he outs the old Nazi beast still within him. The little Jewish girls in the camp were flattered to be raped, he avers. Anselm initially dismisses Lena as a left-wing nut determined to persecute someone. Anyone. But her own story reiterates contemporary Germany's ineluctable tie to its past, with its attendant responsibility. By confronting its historic evil modern Germany recovers its moral compass. Confirming that bond, Lena initially introduces herself as Astrid, which is the name of wrier/director Astrid Schult. That makes both and the director's and the character's quest intensely personal. Housekeeper Elena is the serviceable, passive citizen who discreetly turns away from any danger or embarrassment. The homonymous Lena and Elena are parallel outsiders. Where Lena confronts Anselm, Elena senses a problem but lets Maria turn her away from it. Lena and Maria can also identify with the figure in the painting, in their respective quests to ascertain their origins and assume moral responsibility. On this, Maria follows the younger Lena. Maria is arguably the film's moral centre. Her father's lifelong faithful defender, she reluctantly admits the visitor and tends to her injury. That, like Anselm's fate, is self-inflicted. When Maria injures herself in overcoming Lena, she extends her parallel. Lena's certainty about Anselm's guilt sets Maria finally to challenge her father's self-serving version of history. The shifting winds of German politics have only renewed the story's compulsive currency. This very intense thriller was made for German TV, which would give its tight home setting an additional impact. Still, it's a compelling cinema experience too.
  • Warning: Spoilers
    The only reason I saw this movie is because I saw the title at the library and thought I would give it a chance. I am glad that I did.

    I wish they would have drawn out the story a while longer after he admitted to being guilty, but no one can complain it is overlong.

    What made it good was you could never be certain throughout if he was innocent (seemed likely) or guilty.

    Excellent acting by the three main cast members.
  • Every aspect of this so-called movie screams of a theatrical performance. Even the way the actors "act", quite unnaturally, just slightly emphasizing emotions and facial movements a tiny bit too much, too continuously, just like during a live play, on stage, because the audience is far away, and not all of them have binocular.... Except maybe for the old Nazi guy who sounded and looked somehow a lot more real and believable to me than the two women.

    That being said, the script is quite fine and holds its own, even if quite predictable, not the ending, but the underlying predicament.

    All in all, it's a nice little theatre piece. Worth watching, in my opinion.